Experimental results on the phase slip process in superconducting lead nanowires are presented under two different experimental conditions: constant applied current or constant voltage. Based on these experiments we established a simple model which gives us the condition of the appearance of phase slip centers in a quasi-one-dimensional wire. The competition between two relaxations times (relaxation time of the absolute value of the order parameter τ and relaxation time of the phase of the order parameter in the phase slip center τ) governs the phase slip process. Phase slips, as periodic oscillations in time of the order parameter, are only possible if the gradient of the phase grows faster than the value of the order parameter in the phase slip center, or equivalently if τ≤ τ.
Physical Review B (condensed Matter and Materials Physics), 2004, Vol 69, Issue 9, p. 945121-9451212