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For high-performance superconducting quantum devices based on Josephson junctions (JJs), decreasing lateral sizes is of great importance. Fabrication of sub-μm JJs is challenging, due to nonflat surfaces with step heights of up to several 100 nm generated during the fabrication process. We have refined a fabrication process with significantly decreased film thicknesses, resulting in almost flat surfaces at intermediate steps during the JJ definition. In combination with a mix-and-match process, combining electron-beam lithography and conventional photolithography, we can fabricate JJs with lateral dimensions down to 0.023 μm2. We propose this refined process as an alternative to the commonly used chemical-mechanical polishing procedure. Transport measurements of JJs, having critical-current densities ranging from 50 to 104 A/cm2, are presented at 4.2 K. Our JJ process yields excellent quality parameters, Rsg/RN up to ~ 50, Vm from 15 to 80 mV and Vgap up to 2.81 mV, and also allows the fabrication of high-quality, sub-μm wide, long JJs (LJJs) for the study of Josephson vortex behavior. The developed technique can also be used for similar multilayer processes and is very promising for fabricating sub- μm JJs for quantum devices such as SQUIDs, qubits, and SIS mixers.
Date of Publication: June 2013