Spin proximity effect in ultrathin superconducting Be-Au bilayers

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We present a detailed study of the effects of interface spin-orbit coupling on the critical field behavior of ultrathin superconducting Be/Au bilayers. Parallel field measurements were made in bilayers with Be thicknesses in the range of d=2-30nm and Au coverages of 0.5nm. Though the Au had little effect on the superconducting gap, it produced profound changes in the spin states of the system. In particular, the parallel critical field exceeded the Clogston limit by an order of magnitude in the thinnest films studied. In addition, the parallel critical field unexpectedly scaled as Hc/Δ01/d, suggesting that the spin-orbit coupling energy was proportional to Δ0/d2. Tilted field measurements showed that, contrary to recent theory, the interface spin-orbit coupling induces a large in-plane superconducting susceptibility but only a very small transverse susceptibility. © 2006 The American Physical Society.

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Physical Review Letters

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