Observation of a gel of quantum vortices in a superconductor at very low magnetic fields

José Benito Llorens, Lior Embon, Alexandre Correa, Jesús David González, Edwin Herrera, Isabel Guillamón, Roberto F. Luccas, Jon Azpeitia, Federico J. Mompeán, Mar Garciá-Hernández, Carmen Munuera, Jazmín Aragón Sánchez, Yanina Fasano, Milorad V. Milošević, Hermann Suderow, Yonathan Anahory

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A gel consists of a network of particles or molecules formed for example using the sol-gel process, by which a solution transforms into a porous solid. Particles or molecules in a gel are mainly organized on a scaffold that makes up a porous system. Quantized vortices in type-II superconductors mostly form spatially homogeneous ordered or amorphous solids. Here we present high-resolution imaging of the vortex lattice displaying dense vortex clusters separated by sparse or entirely vortex-free regions in β-Bi2Pd superconductor. We find that the intervortex distance diverges upon decreasing the magnetic field and that vortex lattice images follow a multifractal behavior. These properties, characteristic of gels, establish the presence of a novel vortex distribution, distinctly different from the well-studied disordered and glassy phases observed in high-temperature and conventional superconductors. The observed behavior is caused by a scaffold of one-dimensional structural defects with enhanced stress close to the defects. The vortex gel might often occur in type-II superconductors at low magnetic fields. Such vortex distributions should allow to considerably simplify control over vortex positions and manipulation of quantum vortex states.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number013329
JournalPhysical Review Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2020

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© 2020 authors. Published by the American Physical Society.


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