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Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory
208 North Wright Street Urbana, Illinois 61801


Office hours 8:30a - 5:00p


Phone: 217-333-3097
Fax: 217-244-6375


Dale J. Van Harlingen

Dale J. Van Harlingen

211 Loomis Laboratory, MC-MC 704
1110 W. Green St.
Urbana, Illinois 61801
(217) 333-3760
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Research Statement:
Topics of particular interest to Professor Van Harlingen are non-equilibrium superconductivity; superconductor device physics; superconductor materials, including classic, high Tc, and heavy fermion superconductors; microfabrication and nanofabrication techniques; mesoscopic physics; scanning tunneling microscopy and scanning SQUID microscopy; and phase coherence and vortex dynamics in superconductor systems.
Experimental Determination of the Pairing State of the Heavy Fermion and Organic Superconductors

Experiments are underway to determine the symmetry of the superconducting pairing state of two exotic superconducting materials--the heavy fermion superconductors and the organic superconductors. Both of these are suspected to have unconventional pairing mechanisms that lead to anisotropic energy gap structure. By measuring the magnetic response of single Josephson junctions and dc SQUIDs fabricated between single crystals of the exotic superconductor (the heavy fermion superconductor UPt3, or the organic system k-ET2Cu[N(CN)2]Br) and conventional superconducting thin films, we can determine the relative phase of the order parameter in different directions and thus can distinguish proposed anisotropic pairing states.
Vortex Configurations and Dynamics in Superconductor Arrays

Magnetic vortices dominate the thermodynamics and transport properties of microfabricated superconductor arrays and two-dimensional superconducting films. We are studying the motion, pinning, and interactions of vortices by a combination of experimental techniques and computer simulations. The standard approach is to measure magnetotransport properties that reflect the averaged vortex dynamics. In addition, we have developed a scanning SQUID microscope system that allows us to image directly the spatial arrangement and monitor the dynamics of discrete vortices. Images of the configuration of vortices in large arrays and clusters have been obtained and analyzed in terms of vortex diffusion and trapping models.
Experimental Determination of the Pairing State of the High-Temperature Superconductors

We are probing details of the order parameter in the high-temperature superconductors by Josephson tunneling and SQUID interferometry measurements. Using edge junctions fabricated on cuprate thin films to define the tunneling direction, we can measure both the magnitude and relative phase of the order parameter in arbitrary ab-plane momentum directions. In particular, we are studying SQUIDs with junctions on the (100) and (110) faces of YBCO to test for surface-induced subdominant complex order parameters with broken time-reversal symmetry. We are also studying the effect of the loop inductance on the spontaneously generated magnetic flux in corner SQUIDs incorporating a d-wave superconductor. By varying the inductance in situ by moving a superconducting shield, we can test for the predicted abrupt onset of the spontaneous circulating current at a particular value of the inductance screening parameter.
Professor Dale Van Harlingen monitors the growth of high-temperature superconductor films in a pulsed laser ablation chamber Magnetic Imaging of Vortices in High-Temperature Superconductor Films and Devices

We are using scanning SQUID microscopy (SSM) to study vortex dynamics and pinning in superconductor samples. The SSM provides adequate spatial resolution and unparalleled flux sensitivity for imaging magnetic field distributions, making it useful for imaging vortex distributions around defect structures in superconducting thin films and crystals. We have used the SSM to image flux distributions and to study vortex motion around surface steps in the superconductor NbSe2 and in Nb films with microfabricated steps and trenches. These results are being compared with transport measurements of the critical current and magnetization measurements of flux entry and exit from superconductor samples.
Phase Coherence and Bound Quasi-Particle States in Mesoscopic Superconducting Structures

We use scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) to investigate confined quasi-particle states in inhomogeneous superconductor structures. STM is a powerful tool that can simultaneously determine the surface structure and give information on the local electronic density of states. We have observed quasi-particle states bound in normal metal islands on top of a superconductor—the STM detects the spatial variation and energy dependence of the tunneling conductance. These experiments give information about the interface between superconductors and normal metals, the dynamics of quasi-particles, and the proximity effect. These measurements are being extended to study charge transport in semiconductor-superconductor interfaces and bound states in vortices and at interfaces in d-wave superconductors.
Search for Subdominant Order Parameter Phases in d-Wave Grain Boundary Junctions

We are carrying out experiments designed to test for the onset of subdominant superconductor phases induced by perturbations in d-wave superconductors. Phases with complex order parameters are predicted to arise from the suppression of the d-wave order parameter at surfaces and in the vicinity of magnetic impurities by Andreev reflection. We are fabricating grain boundary junctions in pure and magnetically doped cuprate films and measuring the critical current at low temperatures, searching for signatures of a phase transition to a secondary order parameter state. The critical current modulation with applied magnetic field is also being monitored to extract phase-sensitive information about the order parameter.
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging Microscopy Incorporating High-Temperature Superconductor Microcoils

We are developing a unique nuclear magnetic resonance imaging microscope (NMRIM) designed to probe the magnetic microstructure of condensed matter and biological systems. The innovative and critical feature of this instrument is the use of planar microcoils fabricated from high-temperature superconductor thin films. This approach utilizes two schemes for improving the signal-to-noise ratio in NMR microscopy: reduced detection of coil size for enhanced signal sensitivity and the implementation of high-temperature superconductor materials for decreased noise. Our goal is to incorporate these into an instrument with spatial scanning capability to attain unprecedented signal sensitivity and spatial resolution for NMR microscopy.
Research Interests:
  • Experimental low temperature physics, superconductivity, microfabrication of superconductor devices, scanning probe microscopy, mesoscopic systems
  • Ph.D. thesis title: Thermoelectric effects in superconducting indium
For more information:
Van Harlingen Physics Faculty
Van Harlingen Research Group

Honors, Recognition, and Outstanding Achievements for Research:

  • Tau Beta Pi Daniel C. Drucker Eminent Faculty Award, College of Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2006
  • Professor, Center for Advanced Study, University of Illinois, elected 2005
  • Member, National Academy of Sciences, elected 2003
  • Donald Biggar Willett Professorship, College of Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, invested 2003
  • John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, 2001
  • Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, elected 1999
  • Oliver E. Buckley Prize in Condensed Matter Physics, American Physical Society, 1998
  • Fellow, American Physical Society, elected 1996
  • Xerox Award for Faculty Research, College of Enginnering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1991
  • Associate, Center for Advanced Study, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1993-94
  • Fellow, Center for Advanced Study, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1983-84
  • NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1977-78
  • NSF National Needs Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1978-79