Volume 86, Number 4, May 2009
Article Number 47009
Number of page(s) 6
Section Condensed Matter: Electronic Structure, Electrical, Magnetic and Optical Properties
Published online 05 June 2009
EPL, 86 (2009) 47009
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/86/47009

Energy relaxation in a superconductor with magnetic impurities

A. G. Kozorezov1, A. A. Golubov2, J. K. Wigmore1, D. Martin3, P. Verhoeve3, R. A. Hijmering3 and I. Jerjen3

1   Department of Physics, Lancaster University - Lancaster, UK, EU
2   Faculty of Science and Technology and MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnoloy, University of Twente Enschede, The Netherlands, EU
3   Advanced Studies and Technology Preparation Division Directorate of Science and Robotic Exploration of the European Space Agency - Noordwijk, The Netherlands, EU

received 13 August 2008; accepted in final form 1 May 2009; published May 2009
published online 5 June 2009

In a superconductor with magnetic impurities, Kondo scattering results in the formation of localized states inside the superconducting gap. We show that inelastic electronic transitions involving quasiparticle scattering into and out of the localized states may result in significant changes in the non-equilibrium properties of the superconductor. Using the model of Muller-Hartmann and Zittartz for the extreme dilute limit, and including both deformation potential and spin-lattice coupling, we have calculated the rates of such inelastic transitions between continuum and discrete states, and shown that they may greatly modify quasiparticle interactions. The individual processes are: quasiparticle trapping into discrete states, enhanced recombination with localized quasiparticles, and pair breaking and de-trapping of localized quasiparticles by sub-gap phonons. We find that all these processes give rise to clearly distinguishable temperature dependences of the kinetic parameters.

74.20.Fg - BCS theory and its development.
74.50.+r - Tunneling phenomena; point contacts, weak links, Josephson effects.
85.25.Oj - Superconducting optical, X-ray, and $\gamma$-ray detectors (SIS, NIS, transition edge).

© EPLA 2009