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The IQ1000 is a new scanning SQUID¹ microscope used to study the dynamics of trapped magnetic flux (magnetic vortices) in superconducting circuits which can negatively impact circuit operation. This microscope enables superconducting device design teams to image magnetic vortices in devices cooled through the superconducting transition temperature in controlled magnetic fields. With rapid scan speed and process automation, the IQ1000 is the first commercial product of its kind to enable unattended and high-throughput characterization. Device designers can now eliminate the guesswork involved in the design of resilient superconducting circuits, and significantly reduce development time by locating and capturing detrimental magnetic vortices to enhance device performance.
The IQ1000 accomplishes this characterization by scanning a SQUID magnetic flux sensor over the sample surface with sub-micron resolution to generate images of magnetic flux and material magnetic susceptibility. The microscope also enables the study of vortex dynamics in the circuit using XYZ-vectored magnetic fields, precise sample temperature control, and direct manipulation of vortices using the sensor field coils. These characterization techniques allow circuit designers to see where vortices are trapped in patterned superconducting thin films and understand the effect of specific circuit layouts and material properties on vortex trapping. Using the IQ1000, device designers can better understand vortex trapping and optimize circuit design, material selection, and placement of ‘moats’ to capture the vortices in classical and quantum superconducting logic circuits.
Overall, better understanding of vortex trapping and dynamics will aid the development of operationally robust superconducting circuits and will help accelerate the growth of the superconducting quantum computing market.
¹ SQUID stands for “superconducting quantum interference device”. A SQUID combines a superconducting loop with two Josephson junctions to form a sensor which converts magnetic flux to a signal current. The current passing through a SQUID (or output from a SQUID) is directly related to the magnetic flux passing through the SQUID loop.
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