Projects per year
Abstract
Depending on the Ginzburg–Landau parameter K, superconductors can either be fully diamagnetic if K<1/SQRT(2) (type I superconductors) or allow magnetic flux to penetrate through Abrikosov vortices if K>1/SQRT(2) (type II superconductors; refs 1,2). At the Bogomolny critical point, K=Kc=1/SQRT(2), a state that is infinitely degenerate with respect to vortex spatial configurations arises [3,4]. Despite indepth investigations of conventional type I and type II superconductors, a thorough understanding of the magnetic behaviour in the nearBogomolny critical regime at K~Kc remains lacking. Here we report that in confined systems the critical regime expands over a finite interval of K forming a critical superconducting state. We show that in this state, in a sample with dimensions comparable to the vortex core size, vortices merge into a multiquanta droplet, which undergoes Rayleigh instability [5] on increasing and decays by emitting single vortices. Superconducting vortices realize Nielsen–Olesen singular solutions of the Abelian Higgs model, which is pervasive in phenomena ranging from quantum electrodynamics to cosmology [6–9]. Our study of the transient dynamics of Abrikosov–Nielsen–Olesen vortices in systems with boundaries promises access to nontrivial effects in quantum field theory by means of benchtop laboratory experiments.
Original language  English 

Pages (fromto)  2125 
Number of pages  5 
Journal  Nature Physics 
Volume  11 
Issue number  1 
Early online date  10 Nov 2014 
DOIs  
Publication status  Published  1 Jan 2015 
Keywords
 Critical superconductors
 Mesoscopic Superconductivity
 Hall magnetometry
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Projects
 2 Finished

SFM Consortium: Generation, Imaging and Control of Novel Coherent Electronic States
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
29/03/12 → 28/09/16
Project: Research council

A SCANNING HALL PROBE MICROSCOPE FOR HIGH RESOLUTION MILLIKE LVIN MAGNETIC IMAGING
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
1/01/06 → 31/12/08
Project: Research council