In contact with a superconductor, the Andreev reflection of the electrons locally modifies the N metal electronic properties, including the local density of states (LDOS). We investigated the LDOS in superconductor-normal metal (Nb-Au) bilayers using a very low temperature (60 mK) STM on the normal metal side. High resolution tunneling spectra measured on the Au surface show a clear proximity effect with an energy gap of reduced amplitude compared to the bulk Nb gap. The dependence of this mini-gap width with the normal metal thickness is discussed in terms of the Thouless energy. Within the mini-gap, the density of states does not reach zero and shows clear sub-gap features. We compare the experimental spectra with the well-established quasi-classical theory.
Volume 96, 2022
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