Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

Scientific Reports




7598 (1-9)


The dynamics of quantized magnetic vortices and their pinning by materials defects determine electromagnetic properties of superconductors, particularly their ability to carry non-dissipative currents. Despite recent advances in the understanding of the complex physics of vortex matter, the behavior of vortices driven by current through a multi-scale potential of the actual materials defects is still not well understood, mostly due to the scarcity of appropriate experimental tools capable of tracing vortex trajectories on nanometer scales. Using a novel scanning superconducting quantum interference microscope we report here an investigation of controlled dynamics of vortices in lead films with sub-Angstrom spatial resolution and unprecedented sensitivity. We measured, for the first time, the fundamental dependence of the elementary pinning force of multiple defects on the vortex displacement, revealing a far more complex behavior than has previously been recognized, including striking spring softening and broken-spring depinning, as well as spontaneous hysteretic switching between cellular vortex trajectories. Our results indicate the importance of thermal fluctuations even at 4.2 K and of the vital role of ripples in the pinning potential, giving new insights into the mechanisms of magnetic relaxation and electromagnetic response of superconductors.


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Original Publication Citation

Embon, L., Anahory, Y., Suhov, A., Halbertal, D., Cuppens, J., Yakovenko, A., . . . Zeldov, E. (2015). Probing dynamics and pinning of single vortices in superconductors at nanometer scales. Scientific Reports, 5, 7598, . doi: 10.1038/srep07598


0000-0003-0759-8941 (Gurevich)

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