Deterministic phase slips in mesoscopic superconducting rings


The properties of one-dimensional superconductors are strongly influenced by topological fluctuations of the order parameter, known as phase slips, which cause the decay of persistent current in superconducting rings and the appearance of resistance in superconducting wires. Here we show detailed agreement between measurements of the persistent current in isolated flux-biased rings and Ginzburg–Landau theory over a wide range of temperature, magnetic field and ring size; this agreement provides a quantitative picture of the free-energy landscape. We also demonstrate that phase slips occur deterministically as the barrier separating two competing order parameter configurations vanishes.

Nature Communications