Cooper pair current through ultrasmall Josephson junctions

G.-L. Ingold, H. Grabert, and U. Eberhardt

Phys. Rev. B 50, 395–402 (1994) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.50.395

The current-voltage characteristics of ultrasmall Josephson junctions sensitively depends on the electromagnetic environment of the junction. When the charging energy exceeds the Josephson coupling energy, the usual supercurrent at zero voltage is completely suppressed. However, for typical environmental impedances, which are small compared to the resistance quantum, stochastic Cooper pair tunneling leads to a supercurrent peak at a small finite voltage which is proportional to the temperature and the low frequency resistance of the external circuit. An analytic expression for the form of this universal peak, which is independent of the high frequency behavior of the environment, is given. With increasing Josephson coupling the peak merges into the usual supercurrent of a Josephson junction. At larger voltages the Cooper pair current depends on details of the environment. Current peaks are shown to result from resonances in the environmental impedance. Specifically, the case of an LC transmission line of finite length is discussed.