Intermittent trapping of a liquid-like vortex state visualized by scanning Hall probe microscopy

A Crisan, Simon J Bending, Z Z Li, H Raffy

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We have used scanning Hall probe microscopy to investigate vortex structures and vortex dynamics in Bi2Sr2CaCu 2O8 + thin films in very low perpendicular magnetic fields. After nominally zero field cooling in the Earth's field we find that the vortices appear to be in a stable glassy state in our highly disordered samples. After applying a cancellation field of a few Oersted at low temperature, however, the system enters a new regime at very low magnetic induction when the only image contrast is due to vortices that are intermittently trapped on strong pinning centres. This state shares many of the signatures of the re-entrant vortex liquid phase that has been theoretically predicted in these highly anisotropic materials at very low vortex densities. Analysing the trapping times for vortices in the fluctuating state we estimate that the pinning potential of typical strong pinning centres is about 900K under our experimental conditions. To our knowledge, this is the first direct experimental evidence for the existence of a dynamic liquid-like vortex state in this highly anisotropic material at very low magnetic induction.
Original languageEnglish
Article number115001
JournalSuperconductor Science and Technology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


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