Rayleigh instability of confined vortex droplets in critical superconductors

Igor Lukyanchuk, Valerie Vinokur, Andreas Rydh, R Xie, Milorad Milosevic, Ulrich Welp, M Zach, Z L Xiao, George Crabtree, Simon Bending, Francois Peeters, Wai-Kwong Kwok

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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 in-depth investigations of conventional type I and type II superconductors, a thorough understanding of the magnetic behaviour in the near-Bogomolny 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 multi-quanta 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 non-trivial effects in quantum field theory by means of bench-top laboratory experiments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-25
Number of pages5
JournalNature Physics
Volume11
Issue number1
Early online date10 Nov 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

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vortices
quantum electrodynamics
seats
cosmology
magnetic flux
critical point
intervals
decay
configurations

Keywords

  • Critical superconductors
  • Mesoscopic Superconductivity
  • Hall magnetometry

Cite this

Lukyanchuk, I., Vinokur, V., Rydh, A., Xie, R., Milosevic, M., Welp, U., ... Kwok, W-K. (2015). Rayleigh instability of confined vortex droplets in critical superconductors. Nature Physics, 11(1), 21-25. https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys3146

Rayleigh instability of confined vortex droplets in critical superconductors. / Lukyanchuk, Igor; Vinokur, Valerie; Rydh, Andreas; Xie, R; Milosevic, Milorad; Welp, Ulrich; Zach, M; Xiao, Z L; Crabtree, George; Bending, Simon; Peeters, Francois; Kwok, Wai-Kwong.

In: Nature Physics, Vol. 11, No. 1, 01.01.2015, p. 21-25.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Lukyanchuk, I, Vinokur, V, Rydh, A, Xie, R, Milosevic, M, Welp, U, Zach, M, Xiao, ZL, Crabtree, G, Bending, S, Peeters, F & Kwok, W-K 2015, 'Rayleigh instability of confined vortex droplets in critical superconductors', Nature Physics, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 21-25. https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys3146
Lukyanchuk I, Vinokur V, Rydh A, Xie R, Milosevic M, Welp U et al. Rayleigh instability of confined vortex droplets in critical superconductors. Nature Physics. 2015 Jan 1;11(1):21-25. https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys3146
Lukyanchuk, Igor ; Vinokur, Valerie ; Rydh, Andreas ; Xie, R ; Milosevic, Milorad ; Welp, Ulrich ; Zach, M ; Xiao, Z L ; Crabtree, George ; Bending, Simon ; Peeters, Francois ; Kwok, Wai-Kwong. / Rayleigh instability of confined vortex droplets in critical superconductors. In: Nature Physics. 2015 ; Vol. 11, No. 1. pp. 21-25.
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