4 years ago

Tailoring Superconductivity with Quantum Dislocations

Tailoring Superconductivity with Quantum Dislocations
Te-Huan Liu, Qichen Song, Gerald D. Mahan, Gang Chen, Mingda Li, Mildred S. Dresselhaus, Laureen Meroueh
Despite the established knowledge that crystal dislocations can affect a material’s superconducting properties, the exact mechanism of the electron-dislocation interaction in a dislocated superconductor has long been missing. Being a type of defect, dislocations are expected to decrease a material’s superconducting transition temperature (Tc) by breaking the coherence. Yet experimentally, even in isotropic type I superconductors, dislocations can either decrease, increase, or have little influence on Tc. These experimental findings have yet to be understood. Although the anisotropic pairing in dirty superconductors has explained impurity-induced Tc reduction, no quantitative agreement has been reached in the case a dislocation given its complexity. In this study, by generalizing the one-dimensional quantized dislocation field to three dimensions, we reveal that there are indeed two distinct types of electron-dislocation interactions. Besides the usual electron-dislocation potential scattering, there is another interaction driving an effective attraction between electrons that is caused by dislons, which are quantized modes of a dislocation. The role of dislocations to superconductivity is thus clarified as the competition between the classical and quantum effects, showing excellent agreement with existing experimental data. In particular, the existence of both classical and quantum effects provides a plausible explanation for the illusive origin of dislocation-induced superconductivity in semiconducting PbS/PbTe superlattice nanostructures. A quantitative criterion has been derived, in which a dislocated superconductor with low elastic moduli and small electron effective mass and in a confined environment is inclined to enhance Tc. This provides a new pathway for engineering a material’s superconducting properties by using dislocations as an additional degree of freedom.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.nanolett.7b00977

DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.7b00977

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