Transport at Nanoscale Interfaces Laboratory

Ultra-stable dry cryostat for variable temperature break junction

Gemma A.,  Zulji A.,  Hurtak f.,  Fatayer S., Kittel A., Calame M. and  Gotsmann B.

Review of Scientific Instruments 92, 123704 (2021)

We present the design of a variable temperature setup that uses a pulse tube cryocooler to perform break-junction experiments at variable temperatures ranging from 12 K to room temperature. The use of pulse tube coolers is advantageous because they are easy to use, can be highly automatized, and used to avoid wastage of cryogenic fluids. This is the reason why dry cryostats are conquering more and more fields in cryogenic physics. However, the main drawback is the level of vibration that can be up to several micrometers at the cold-head. The vibrations make the operation of scanning probe-based microscopes challenging. We implemented vibration-damping techniques that allow obtaining a vibration level of 12 pm between the tip and sample. With these adaptations, we show the possibility to perform break junction measurements in a cryogenic environment and keep in place atomic chains of a few nanometers between the two electrodes.