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ZhETF, Vol. 146, No. 6, p. 1141 (December 2014)
(English translation - JETP, Vol. 119, No. 6, p. 997, December 2014 available online at )

Klapwijk T.M., Ryabchun S.

Received: June 9, 2014

DOI: 10.7868/S0044451014120013

DJVU (573.2K) PDF (974.6K)

An overview is presented of experiments on ballistic electrical transport in inhomogeneous superconducting systems which are controlled by the process of Andreev reflection. The initial experiments based on the coexistence of a normal phase and a superconducting phase in the intermediate state led to the concept itself. It was followed by a focus on geometrically inhomogeneous systems like point contacts, which provided a very clear manifestation of the energy and direction dependence of the Andreev reflection process. The point contacts have recently evolved towards the atomic scale owing to the use of mechanical break-junctions, revealing a very detailed dependence of Andreev reflection on the macroscopic phase of the superconducting state. In present-day research, the superconducting inhomogeneity is constructed by clean room technology and combines superconducting materials, for example, with low-dimensional materials and topological insulators. Alternatively, the superconductor is combined with nano-objects, such as graphene, carbon nanotubes, or semiconducting nanowires. Each of these ``inhomogeneous systems'' provides a very interesting range of properties, all rooted in some manifestation of Andreev reflection. Contribution for the JETP special issue in honor of A. F. Andreev's 75th birthday}

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