J. Phys. IV France 12 (2002) Pr9-179
Plastic depinning in artificial vortex channels: Competition between bulk and boundary nucleationC. Morais Smith1, T. Drose2, R. Besseling3 and P. Kes3
1 Institut de Physique Théorique, Université de Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland
2 Institut fuer Theoretisch Physik, Universitaet Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
3 Kamerlingh Onnes Laboratorium, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands
We study the depinning transition of a driven chain-like system in the presence of frustration and quenched disorder. The analysis is motivated by recent transport experiments on artificial vortex-flow channels in superconducting thin films. We start with a London description of the vortices and then map the problem onto a generalized Frenkel-Kontorova model and its continuous equivalent, the sine-Gordon model. In the absence of disorder, frustration reduces the depinning threshold in the commensurate phase, which nearly vanishes in the incommensurate regime. Depinning of the driven frustrated chain occurs via unstable configurations that are localized at the boundaries of the sample and evolve into topological defects which move freely through the entire sample. In the presence of disorder, topological defects can also be generated in the bulk. Further, disorder leads to pinning of topological defects. We find that weak disorder effectively reduces the depinning threshold in the commensurate phase, but increases the threshold in the incommensurate phase.
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