RSS icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Vimeo icon
YouTube icon

Time-reversal symmetry-breaking superconductivity in epitaxial bismuth/nickel bilayers

TitleTime-reversal symmetry-breaking superconductivity in epitaxial bismuth/nickel bilayers
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsX. Gong, M. Kargarian, A. Stern, D. Yue, H. Zhou, X. Jin, V. M. Galitski, V. M. Yakovenko, and J. Xia
JournalScience Advances
Volume3
Abstract

Superconductivity that spontaneously breaks time-reversal symmetry (TRS) has been found, so far, only in a handful of three-dimensional (3D) crystals with bulk inversion symmetry. We report an observation of spontaneous TRS breaking in a 2D superconducting system without inversion symmetry: the epitaxial bilayer films of bismuth and nickel. The evidence comes from the onset of the polar Kerr effect at the superconducting transition in the absence of an external magnetic field, detected by the ultrasensitive loop-less fiber-optic Sagnac interferometer. Because of strong spin-orbit interaction and lack of inversion symmetry in a Bi/Ni bilayer, superconducting pairing cannot be classified as singlet or triplet. We propose a theoretical model where magnetic fluctuations in Ni induce the superconducting pairing of the orbital symmetry between the electrons in Bi. In this model, the order parameter spontaneously breaks the TRS and has a nonzero phase winding number around the Fermi surface, thus making it a rare example of a 2D topological superconductor.

URLhttp://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/3/e1602579
DOI10.1126/sciadv.1602579

Subscribe to A Quantum Bit 

Quantum physics began with revolutionary discoveries in the early twentieth century and continues to be central in today’s physics research. Learn about quantum physics, bit by bit. From definitions to the latest research, this is your portal. Subscribe to receive regular emails from the quantum world. Previous Issues...

Sign Up Now

Sign up to receive A Quantum Bit in your email!

 Have an idea for A Quantum Bit? Submit your suggestions to jqi-comm@umd.edu