Europhys. Lett.
Volume 71, Number 5, September 2005
Page(s) 817 - 823
Section Condensed matter: electronic structure, electrical, magnetic, and optical properties
Published online 22 July 2005
Europhys. Lett., 71 (5), pp. 817-823 (2005)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2005-10141-0

Tunable critical current for a vortex pinned by a magnetic dipole

G. Carneiro

Instituto de Física, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro C.P. 68528, 21941-972, Rio de Janeiro-RJ, Brazil

received 15 March 2005; accepted in final form 28 June 2005
published online 22 July 2005

A simple model for a superconductor with tunable critical current is studied theoretically. The model consists of a thin superconducting film with one vortex interacting with one magnetic dipole, whose magnetic moment is free to rotate, in the presence of a magnetic field applied parallel to the film surfaces. The pinning potential for the vortex is calculated exactly in the London limit. It is found that, due to the dipole freedom to rotate, the dependence of the pinning potential on the applied field is non-trivial, and allows both the spatial dependence and strength of the pinning potential to be changed by the field. As a consequence, the critical current can be tuned by the applied field. The critical current is obtained numerically as a function of the applied field. Order-of-magnitude changes in the critical current resulting from changes in the direction and magnitude of the applied field are reported, with discontinuous changes taking place in some cases. Possible application to vortices in low-Tc superconducting films pinned by arrays of magnetic dots are briefly considered.

74.25.Sv - Critical currents.
74.25.Qt - Vortex lattices, flux pinning, flux creep.

© EDP Sciences 2005