Applied Physics Seminar
The Josephson effect  represents perhaps the prototype of macroscopic phase coherence and is at the basis of the most widespread interferometer, i.e., the superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID). Yet, in analogy to electric interference, Maki and Griffin  predicted in 1965 that thermal current flowing through a temperature-biased Josephson tunnel junction is a stationary periodic function of the quantum phase difference between the superconductors. In this scenario, a temperature-biased SQUID would allow heat currents to interfere thus implementing the thermal version of the electric Josephson interferometer.
In this talk I will initially report the first experimental realization of such a heat interferometer . We investigate heat exchange between two normal metal electrodes kept at different temperatures and tunnel-coupled to each other through a thermal device in the form of a DC-SQUID. Heat transport in the system is found to be phase dependent, in agreement with the original prediction. After this initial demonstration, we have extended the concept of the heat interferometry to various other devices and functionalities, implementing the first quantum `diffractor' for thermal flux [4, 5], the realization of the first balanced Josephson heat modulator , and an ultra-efficient low-temperature hybrid `heat current rectifier' [7, 8], thermal counterpart of the well-known electric diode. In the latter, we demonstrate temperature differences exceeding 60 mK between the forward and reverse thermal bias configurations . This structure offers a remarkably large heat rectification ratio up to about 140 and allows its prompt implementation in true solid-state thermal nanocircuits and general-purpose electronic applications requiring energy harvesting or thermal management and isolation at the nanoscale.