Superconductivity in Two-Dimensional Crystals

  • Mohammed El-Bana

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Since the first isolation of graphene in 2004 interest in superconductivity and thesuperconducting proximity effect in monolayer or few-layer crystals has grownrapidly. This thesis describes studies of both the proximity effect in single and fewlayer graphene flakes, as well as the superconducting transition in few unit cell chalcogenide flakes. Optical and atomic force microscopy and Raman spectroscopy have been used to characterise the quality and number of molecular layers present in these flakes. Graphene structures with superconducting Al electrodes have been realised by micromechanical cleavage techniques on Si/SiO2 substrates. Devices show good normal state transport characteristics, efficient back-gating of the longitudinal resistivity, and low contact resistances. Several trials have been made to investigate proximity-induced critical currents in devices with junction lengths in the range 250-750 nm. Unfortunately, no sign of proximity supercurrents was observed in any of these devices. Nevertheless the same devices have been used to carefullycharacterise proximity doping, (due to the deposited electrode), and weaklocalisation/anti-localisation contributions to the conductivity in them. In addition this work has been extended to investigations of the superconducting transition in few unit-cell dichalcogenide flakes. Four-terminal devices have been realised by micromechanical cleavage from a 2H-NbSe2 single crystal onto Si/SiO2 substrates followed by the deposition of Cr/Au contacts. While very thin NbSe2 flakes do not appear to conduct, slightly thicker flakes are superconducting with an onset ܶ௖ that is only slightly depressed from the bulk value (7.2K). The resistance typically shows a small, sharp, high temperature transition followed by one or more broader transitions, which end in a wide tail to zero resistance at low temperatures. These multiple transitions appear to be related to disorder in the layer stacking rather than lateral inhomogeneity. The behaviour of several flakes has been characterised as a function of temperature, applied field and back-gate voltage. The resistance and transition temperatures are found to depend weakly on the gate voltage. Results have been analysed in terms of available theories for these phenomena.
Date of Award19 Jul 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorSimon Bending (Supervisor) & Simon Crampin (Supervisor)


  • superconductivity
  • 2D crystals
  • graphene
  • field effect transistors (FETs)

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