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Rayleigh instability of confined vortex droplets in critical superconductors
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics.
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2015 (English)In: Nature Physics, ISSN 1745-2473, E-ISSN 1745-2481, Vol. 11, no 1, 21-25 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Depending on the Ginzburg-Landau parameter kappa, superconductors can either be fully diamagnetic if kappa < 1/root 2 (type I superconductors) or allow magnetic flux to penetrate through Abrikosov vortices if kappa > 1/root 2 (type II superconductors; refs 1,2). At the Bogomolny critical point, kappa = kappa(c) = 1/root 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 kappa similar to kappa(c) remains lacking. Here we report that in confined systems the critical regime expands over a finite interval of kappa 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 kappa 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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 11, no 1, 21-25 p.
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Physical Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-113224DOI: 10.1038/NPHYS3146ISI: 000346831100018OAI: diva2:791344


Available from: 2015-02-27 Created: 2015-01-26 Last updated: 2015-02-27Bibliographically approved

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Rydh, Andreas
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