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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 18, Iss. 16 — Aug. 2, 2010
  • pp: 17504–17509
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Low loss and magnetic field-tunable superconducting terahertz metamaterial

Biaobing Jin, Caihong Zhang, Sebastian Engelbrecht, Andrei Pimenov, Jingbo Wu, Qinyin Xu, Chunhai Cao, Jian Chen, Weiwei Xu, Lin Kang, and Peiheng Wu  »View Author Affiliations


Optics Express, Vol. 18, Issue 16, pp. 17504-17509 (2010)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OE.18.017504


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Abstract

Superconducting terahertz (THz) metamaterial (MM) made from niobium (Nb) film has been investigated using a continuous-wave THz spectroscopy. The quality factors of the resonance modes at 0.132 THz and 0.418 THz can be remarkably increased when the working temperature is below the superconducting transition temperature of Nb, indicating that the use of superconducting Nb is a possible way to achieve low loss performance of a THz MM. In addition, the tuning of superconducting THz MM by a magnetic field is also demonstrated, which offers an alternative tuning method apart from the existing electric, optical and thermal tuning methods.

© 2010 OSA

1. Introduction

Metamaterial (MM) is an arrangement of artificial structure elements to achieve advantageous and unusual electromagnetic properties, which cannot be realized with natural material [1

1. M. Lapine and S. Tretyakov, “Contemporary notes on metamaterials,” IET Microw. Antennas Propag. 1(1), 3–11 (2007). [CrossRef]

]. These properties make it possible to manipulate the propagation of electromagnetic waves, giving rise to a variety of applications such as planar superlens and invisible cloaks at microwave band as well as functional devices at THz [2

2. A. Grbic and G. V. Eleftheriades, “Overcoming the diffraction limit with a planar left-handed transmission-line lens,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 92(11), 117403 (2004). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

6

6. N.-H. Shen, M. Kafesaki, T. Koschny, L. Zhang, E. N. Economou, and C. M. Soukoulis, “Broadband blueshift tunable metamaterials and dual-band switches,” Phys. Rev. B 79(16), 161102 (2009). [CrossRef]

].

Metallic structures on dielectric substrates are commonly used in MMs [7

7. J. B. Pendry, A. Holden, D. D. Robbins, and W. Stewart, “Magnetism from Conductors and Enhanced Nonlinear Phenomena,” IEEE Trans. Microw. Theory Tech. 47(11), 2075–2084 (1999). [CrossRef]

]. They have relative low losses at microwaves, and allow us to demonstrate experimentally the extraordinary properties of the MMs. However, as the frequency is pushed higher towards terahertz (THz), the ohmic losses become prominent and the desired functions may not be implemented by using the current MM designs. Thus, an urgent problem is to reduce the loss of THz MMs. Recently, metallic THz MM operating at cryogenic temperature and superconducting THz MM based on yttrium-barium-copper oxide (YBCO) film are proposed for this purpose [8

8. R. Singh, Z. Tian, J. Han, C. Rockstuhl, J. Gu, and W. Zhang, “Cryogenic temperatures as a path toward high-Q terahertz metamaterials,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 96(7), 071114 (2010). [CrossRef]

,9

9. J. Gu, R. Singh, Z. Tian, W. Cao, Q. Xing, J. Han, and W. Zhang, “Superconductor terahertz metamaterial,” arXiv:1003.5169 (2010)

]. In the former case, simulations show that the quality factor of the MM can be increased by 40% when the normal metal is kept at 1 K. In the latter case, i.e. superconducting THz MM made from YBCO film, although experimentally the loss does decrease as the temperature decreases, the surface resistance Rs of YBCO film at 0.1 THz and 77 K is comparable to that of the normal metal, implying that YBCO film may not be a very good candidate for superconducting THz MMs [10

10. I. Wilke, M. Khazan, C. T. Rieck, P. Kuzel, T. Kaiser, C. Jaekel, and H. Kurz, “Terahertz surface resistance of high temperature superconducting thin films,” J. Appl. Phys. 87(6), 2984–2988 (2000). [CrossRef]

].

2. Experiments and discussions

The sample is a square array of double-split-ring-resonators (double SRR) as shown in Fig. 1a
Fig. 1 (a) The microscopic image of the sample array and (b) the simulated transmission spectrum of our THz metamaterial.
[7

7. J. B. Pendry, A. Holden, D. D. Robbins, and W. Stewart, “Magnetism from Conductors and Enhanced Nonlinear Phenomena,” IEEE Trans. Microw. Theory Tech. 47(11), 2075–2084 (1999). [CrossRef]

,16

16. A. K. Azad, J. Dai, and W. Zhang, “Transmission properties of terahertz pulses through subwavelength double split-ring resonators,” Opt. Lett. 31(5), 634–636 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. In fact a double-split-ring-resonator consists of two concentric split rings, the outer one and the inner one. The outer one measures 120 μm × 120 μm, while the inner one 80 μm × 80 μm. The widths of the both rings, the spacing between them, and the splits on them are all 10 μm. In the array the distances between neighboring double-split-ring-resonators are 20 μm, making each cell of the sizes 140 μm × 140 μm. The transmission property of this MM is simulated by the commercially available code. In the simulation, the superconducting thin film is assumed to be a normal metal with a conductivity of 5 × 107 S/m. The wave propagates perpendicular to the plane of SRR, with the ac electric field parallel to the gap (shown in Fig. 1). Three resonance dips below 0.5 THz are obtained at 0.13 THz, 0.24 THz and 0.41 THz, respectively.

To carry out experimental studies, Niobium (Nb) film is deposited on 400 μm-thick Si (111) substrate by DC magnetron sputtering. The resistivity of the Si substrate is larger than 1000 Ω • cm. The thickness of Nb film is about 200 nm. The superconducting transition temperature, Tc, is measured to be about 9 K by four-probe technique. The films are polycrystalline with a cubic structure. The standard photolithography and reactive ion etching are used to pattern the sample.

Transmission experiments are carried out using continuous-wave THz spectroscopy, and the necessary DC magnetic field, Hdc, can be provided by a superconducting split-coil magnet [17

17. A. V. Pronin, M. Dressel, A. Pimenov, A. Loidl, I. V. Roshchin, and L. H. Greene, “Direct observation of the superconducting energy gap developing in the conductivity spectra of niobium,” Phys. Rev. B 57(22), 14416–14421 (1998). [CrossRef]

]. We measure the transmission spectra at 6 K and 26 K in two frequency ranges, one from 0.10 to 0.18 THz and the other from 0.30 to 0.55 THz, corresponding to the ranges in which the simulations find the first and third resonance modes (Fig. 1). Indeed in Fig. 2a
Fig. 2 Transmission spectra at 6 K (squares) and 26 K (circles) in the absence of DC magnetic field (Hdc) for resonance mode at 0.132 THz (a) and 0.418 THz (b). The solid lines represent the fit to the experimental results using Eq. (1).
and Fig. 2b two dips are experimentally observed respectively at 0.132 THz and 0.418 THz at 6 K in the absence of Hdc.

We can get a lower loss if the working temperature is decreased further. However, it is hindered by the residual surface resistance of the film and the radiation loss of MM. As the temperature tends to zero, Rs approaches to a finite value, i.e., residual surface resistance, which is determined by the impurity in the superconducting films. The radiation loss is another important factor to be considered especially at THz since it is proportional to f4 [19

19. M. J. Lancaster, Passive Microwave Device Applications of High-Temperature Superconductors, (Cambridge University Press, 1996), Ch.7.

]. It cannot be reduced for fixed SRR structure, essentially limits the loss performance of THz MM. Hence, the fabrication of the film with lower density defects and the adjustment of the geometry of the unit cell will be further directions to reduce the loss of THz MM.

In addition to the low loss properties, DC magnetic field tuning of superconducting MM can be implemented. Figure 3(a)
Fig. 3 Transmission spectra (solid lines) at 6 K and Hdc = 0, 0.1, 0.3, 0.5 and 0.7 T (started from bottom) at 0.132 THz (a) and 0.418 THz (b). The squares represent the transmission at 6 K and Hdc = 1 T and the solid triangles represent the transmission at 26 K and zero Hdc.
and Fig. 3(b) show respectively the transmission spectra at 6 K and different magnetic fields (0-1 Tesla) for two resonance modes. In Fig. 3(a), the resonance frequency decreases with the increase of the magnetic field and we can clearly see the shift of the transmission vs frequency curves until 0.7 T, above which all the transmission vs frequency curves tends to be the same and the resonance frequencies do not change any more. Similar changes can be seen in Fig. 3(b) except that the resonance frequency increases with the increase of magnetic field [compare Fig. 4(a)
Fig. 4 The resonance frequency as a function of Hdc for modes at 0.132 THz (a) and 0.418 THz (b).
with Fig. 4(b)]. The physical reason of tuning is that the superconducting properties of Nb film, such as the magnetic penetration depth and critical current density, strongly depend upon Hdc [12

12. M. C. Ricci, H. Xu, R. Prozorov, A. P. Zhuravel, A. V. Ustinov, and S. M. Anlage, “Tunability of Superconducting Metamaterials,” IEEE Trans. Appl. Supercond. 17(2), 918–921 (2007). [CrossRef]

,20

20. M. W. Coffey and J. R. Clem, “Unified theory of effects of vortex pinning and flux creep upon the rf surface impedance of type-II superconductors,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 67(3), 386–389 (1991). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. When Hdc is large enough, superconductivity is quenched and the film goes normal. As a support to this argument, in Fig. 3(a) and Fig. 3(b) we use solid triangles to show the transmission data for the same sample but at 26 K and no magnetic field applied. These points scatter, very closely, around the transmission vs frequency curves for the sample at 6 K and with magnetic fields above 0.7T. This seems to suggest that the upper critical field of the sample is 0.7 T. Although we do not measure it experimentally, we believe this is a reasonable estimate because reported values of the critical field at low temperatures range from 1.0 T to 4.6 T [21

21. C. Peroz and C. Villard, “Flux flow properties of niobium thin films in clean and dirty superconducting limits,” Phys. Rev. B 72(1), 014515 (2005). [CrossRef]

] and at 6 K it should be in a range from 0.4 T to 1.8 T according to the temperature dependence of Hc2(T) = Hc2(0)(1-t2) /(1 + t2) [20

20. M. W. Coffey and J. R. Clem, “Unified theory of effects of vortex pinning and flux creep upon the rf surface impedance of type-II superconductors,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 67(3), 386–389 (1991). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

] where t = T/Tc and T is the working temperature.

As mentioned above, the increase of the magnetic field may result in either the decrease or the increase of the resonance frequency (Fig. 4a and Fig. 4b). For the resonance mode at 0.132 THz, the frequency decreases with the increasing Hdc. The total frequency change is about 3 GHz. But, for the resonance mode at 0.418 THz, the frequency increases with Hdc with a total frequency change of about 20 GHz. The different tuning behaviors come from the different current distributions in these resonance modes. Figure 5
Fig. 5 The surface current distribution for the resonant modes at (a) 0.132 THz and (b) 0.418 THz
shows the simulated current distributions. For the resonance mode at 0.132 THz, there is a circulating current in the outer ring. In this case, this ring acts as an inductor and the gap is like a capacitor [22

22. N. Katsarakis, T. Koschny, M. Kafesaki, E. N. Economou, and C. M. Soukoulis, “Electric coupling to the magnetic resonance of split ring resonators,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 84(15), 2943–2945 (2004). [CrossRef]

]. The magnetic penetration depth of superconducting film increases with Hdc, leading to the increase of the inductor, and the decrease of the frequency. For the resonance at 0.418 THz, the current distribution is symmetric. The current in the outer ring has the same direction as the one in the adjacent outer ring, leading to attractive forces between them. As the film goes to the superconducting state, this attraction become larger and the current prefers to distribute in the outer edge of the outer ring. Effectively, the electric length of the outer ring is extended, and the resonance frequency is reduced.

3. Summary

In conclusion, we successfully demonstrated the low loss and magnetic field tuning superconducting THz MM. The unloaded Q values of the MM at 0.132 THz and 0.418 THz can reach 86.5 and 36.6, respectively. We hope our results can contribute to paving the way for making THz devices based on superconducting THz MM.

Acknowledgments

This work is supported by the MOST 973 project of China (No. 2007CB310404), the Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University (NCET-07-0414), Ministry of Education, China, and Qing Lan Program of JiangSu Province, China.

References and links

1.

M. Lapine and S. Tretyakov, “Contemporary notes on metamaterials,” IET Microw. Antennas Propag. 1(1), 3–11 (2007). [CrossRef]

2.

A. Grbic and G. V. Eleftheriades, “Overcoming the diffraction limit with a planar left-handed transmission-line lens,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 92(11), 117403 (2004). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

3.

D. Schurig, J. J. Mock, B. J. Justice, S. A. Cummer, J. B. Pendry, A. F. Starr, and D. R. Smith, “Metamaterial electromagnetic cloak at microwave frequencies,” Science 314(5801), 977–980 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

4.

H.-T. Chen, W. J. Padilla, J. M. O. Zide, A. C. Gossard, A. J. Taylor, and R. D. Averitt, “Active terahertz metamaterial devices,” Nature 444(7119), 597–600 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

5.

Y. Yuan, C. Bingham, T. Tyler, S. Palit, T. H. Hand, W. J. Padilla, D. R. Smith, N. M. Jokerst, and S. A. Cummer, “Dual-band planar electric metamaterial in the terahertz regime,” Opt. Express 16(13), 9746–9752 (2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

6.

N.-H. Shen, M. Kafesaki, T. Koschny, L. Zhang, E. N. Economou, and C. M. Soukoulis, “Broadband blueshift tunable metamaterials and dual-band switches,” Phys. Rev. B 79(16), 161102 (2009). [CrossRef]

7.

J. B. Pendry, A. Holden, D. D. Robbins, and W. Stewart, “Magnetism from Conductors and Enhanced Nonlinear Phenomena,” IEEE Trans. Microw. Theory Tech. 47(11), 2075–2084 (1999). [CrossRef]

8.

R. Singh, Z. Tian, J. Han, C. Rockstuhl, J. Gu, and W. Zhang, “Cryogenic temperatures as a path toward high-Q terahertz metamaterials,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 96(7), 071114 (2010). [CrossRef]

9.

J. Gu, R. Singh, Z. Tian, W. Cao, Q. Xing, J. Han, and W. Zhang, “Superconductor terahertz metamaterial,” arXiv:1003.5169 (2010)

10.

I. Wilke, M. Khazan, C. T. Rieck, P. Kuzel, T. Kaiser, C. Jaekel, and H. Kurz, “Terahertz surface resistance of high temperature superconducting thin films,” J. Appl. Phys. 87(6), 2984–2988 (2000). [CrossRef]

11.

M. Ricci, N. Orloff, and S. M. Anlage, “Superconducting metamaterials,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 87(3), 034102 (2005). [CrossRef]

12.

M. C. Ricci, H. Xu, R. Prozorov, A. P. Zhuravel, A. V. Ustinov, and S. M. Anlage, “Tunability of Superconducting Metamaterials,” IEEE Trans. Appl. Supercond. 17(2), 918–921 (2007). [CrossRef]

13.

W. J. Padilla, A. J. Taylor, and R. D. Averitt, “Dynamical electric and magnetic metamaterial response at terahertz frequencies,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 96(10), 107401 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

14.

H. T. Chen, J. F. O'Hara, A. K. Azad, A. J. Taylor, R. D. Averitt, D. B. Shrekenhamer, and W. J. Padilla, “Experimental demonstration of frequency-agile terahertz metamaterials,” Nat. Photonics 2(5), 295–298 (2008). [CrossRef]

15.

T. Driscoll, S. Palit, M. M. Qazilbash, M. Brehm, F. Keilmann, B. G. Chae, S. J. Yun, H. Kim, S. Y. Cho, N. M. Jokerst, D. R. Smith, and D. N. Basov, “Dynamic tuning of an infrared hybrid-metamaterial resonance using vanadium dioxide,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 93(2), 024101 (2008). [CrossRef]

16.

A. K. Azad, J. Dai, and W. Zhang, “Transmission properties of terahertz pulses through subwavelength double split-ring resonators,” Opt. Lett. 31(5), 634–636 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

17.

A. V. Pronin, M. Dressel, A. Pimenov, A. Loidl, I. V. Roshchin, and L. H. Greene, “Direct observation of the superconducting energy gap developing in the conductivity spectra of niobium,” Phys. Rev. B 57(22), 14416–14421 (1998). [CrossRef]

18.

S.-Y. Dong, Microwave measurement techniques, (Publishing House of Beijing Institute of Technology, 1988),Ch.4 (in Chinese)

19.

M. J. Lancaster, Passive Microwave Device Applications of High-Temperature Superconductors, (Cambridge University Press, 1996), Ch.7.

20.

M. W. Coffey and J. R. Clem, “Unified theory of effects of vortex pinning and flux creep upon the rf surface impedance of type-II superconductors,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 67(3), 386–389 (1991). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

21.

C. Peroz and C. Villard, “Flux flow properties of niobium thin films in clean and dirty superconducting limits,” Phys. Rev. B 72(1), 014515 (2005). [CrossRef]

22.

N. Katsarakis, T. Koschny, M. Kafesaki, E. N. Economou, and C. M. Soukoulis, “Electric coupling to the magnetic resonance of split ring resonators,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 84(15), 2943–2945 (2004). [CrossRef]

OCIS Codes
(260.5740) Physical optics : Resonance
(160.3918) Materials : Metamaterials
(300.6495) Spectroscopy : Spectroscopy, teraherz

ToC Category:
Metamaterials

History
Original Manuscript: June 1, 2010
Revised Manuscript: July 14, 2010
Manuscript Accepted: July 23, 2010
Published: July 30, 2010

Citation
Biaobing Jin, Caihong Zhang, Sebastian Engelbrecht, Andrei Pimenov, Jingbo Wu, Qinyin Xu, Chunhai Cao, Jian Chen, Weiwei Xu, Lin Kang, and Peiheng Wu, "Low loss and magnetic field-tunable superconducting terahertz metamaterial," Opt. Express 18, 17504-17509 (2010)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-18-16-17504


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References

  1. M. Lapine and S. Tretyakov, “Contemporary notes on metamaterials,” IET Microw. Antennas Propag. 1(1), 3–11 (2007). [CrossRef]
  2. A. Grbic and G. V. Eleftheriades, “Overcoming the diffraction limit with a planar left-handed transmission-line lens,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 92(11), 117403 (2004). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  3. D. Schurig, J. J. Mock, B. J. Justice, S. A. Cummer, J. B. Pendry, A. F. Starr, and D. R. Smith, “Metamaterial electromagnetic cloak at microwave frequencies,” Science 314(5801), 977–980 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  4. H.-T. Chen, W. J. Padilla, J. M. O. Zide, A. C. Gossard, A. J. Taylor, and R. D. Averitt, “Active terahertz metamaterial devices,” Nature 444(7119), 597–600 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. Y. Yuan, C. Bingham, T. Tyler, S. Palit, T. H. Hand, W. J. Padilla, D. R. Smith, N. M. Jokerst, and S. A. Cummer, “Dual-band planar electric metamaterial in the terahertz regime,” Opt. Express 16(13), 9746–9752 (2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  6. N.-H. Shen, M. Kafesaki, T. Koschny, L. Zhang, E. N. Economou, and C. M. Soukoulis, “Broadband blueshift tunable metamaterials and dual-band switches,” Phys. Rev. B 79(16), 161102 (2009). [CrossRef]
  7. J. B. Pendry, A. Holden, D. D. Robbins, and W. Stewart, “Magnetism from Conductors and Enhanced Nonlinear Phenomena,” IEEE Trans. Microw. Theory Tech. 47(11), 2075–2084 (1999). [CrossRef]
  8. R. Singh, Z. Tian, J. Han, C. Rockstuhl, J. Gu, and W. Zhang, “Cryogenic temperatures as a path toward high-Q terahertz metamaterials,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 96(7), 071114 (2010). [CrossRef]
  9. J. Gu, R. Singh, Z. Tian, W. Cao, Q. Xing, J. Han, and W. Zhang, “Superconductor terahertz metamaterial,” arXiv:1003.5169 (2010)
  10. I. Wilke, M. Khazan, C. T. Rieck, P. Kuzel, T. Kaiser, C. Jaekel, and H. Kurz, “Terahertz surface resistance of high temperature superconducting thin films,” J. Appl. Phys. 87(6), 2984–2988 (2000). [CrossRef]
  11. M. Ricci, N. Orloff, and S. M. Anlage, “Superconducting metamaterials,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 87(3), 034102 (2005). [CrossRef]
  12. M. C. Ricci, H. Xu, R. Prozorov, A. P. Zhuravel, A. V. Ustinov, and S. M. Anlage, “Tunability of Superconducting Metamaterials,” IEEE Trans. Appl. Supercond. 17(2), 918–921 (2007). [CrossRef]
  13. W. J. Padilla, A. J. Taylor, and R. D. Averitt, “Dynamical electric and magnetic metamaterial response at terahertz frequencies,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 96(10), 107401 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  14. H. T. Chen, J. F. O'Hara, A. K. Azad, A. J. Taylor, R. D. Averitt, D. B. Shrekenhamer, and W. J. Padilla, “Experimental demonstration of frequency-agile terahertz metamaterials,” Nat. Photonics 2(5), 295–298 (2008). [CrossRef]
  15. T. Driscoll, S. Palit, M. M. Qazilbash, M. Brehm, F. Keilmann, B. G. Chae, S. J. Yun, H. Kim, S. Y. Cho, N. M. Jokerst, D. R. Smith, and D. N. Basov, “Dynamic tuning of an infrared hybrid-metamaterial resonance using vanadium dioxide,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 93(2), 024101 (2008). [CrossRef]
  16. A. K. Azad, J. Dai, and W. Zhang, “Transmission properties of terahertz pulses through subwavelength double split-ring resonators,” Opt. Lett. 31(5), 634–636 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  17. A. V. Pronin, M. Dressel, A. Pimenov, A. Loidl, I. V. Roshchin, and L. H. Greene, “Direct observation of the superconducting energy gap developing in the conductivity spectra of niobium,” Phys. Rev. B 57(22), 14416–14421 (1998). [CrossRef]
  18. S.-Y. Dong, Microwave measurement techniques, (Publishing House of Beijing Institute of Technology, 1988),Ch.4 (in Chinese)
  19. M. J. Lancaster, Passive Microwave Device Applications of High-Temperature Superconductors, (Cambridge University Press, 1996), Ch.7.
  20. M. W. Coffey and J. R. Clem, “Unified theory of effects of vortex pinning and flux creep upon the rf surface impedance of type-II superconductors,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 67(3), 386–389 (1991). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  21. C. Peroz and C. Villard, “Flux flow properties of niobium thin films in clean and dirty superconducting limits,” Phys. Rev. B 72(1), 014515 (2005). [CrossRef]
  22. N. Katsarakis, T. Koschny, M. Kafesaki, E. N. Economou, and C. M. Soukoulis, “Electric coupling to the magnetic resonance of split ring resonators,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 84(15), 2943–2945 (2004). [CrossRef]

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