Theory of a two-dimensional superconductor with broken inversion symmetry

Ol'ga Dimitrova, M. V. Feigel'man

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103 Citations (Scopus)


A detailed theory of a phase diagram of a two-dimensional surface superconductor in a parallel magnetic field is presented. A spin-orbital interaction of the Rashba type is known to produce at a high magnetic field h (and in the absence of impurities) an inhomogeneous superconductive phase similar to the Larkin-Ovchinnikov-Fulde-Ferrel (LOFF) (Zh. Eksp. Teor. Fiz. 47, 1136 (1964); Phys. Rev. 135, A550 (1964)) state with an order parameter Δ (r) cos (Qr). We consider the case of a strong Rashba interaction with the spin-orbital splitting αm vF (where α is the Rashba velocity) much larger than the superconductive gap Δ, and show that at low temperatures T≤0.4 Tc0 the LOFF-type state is separated from the usual homogeneous state by a first-order phase transition line. At higher temperatures, a different inhomogeneous "helical" state with Δ (r) exp (iQr) intervenes between the uniform BCS state and the LOFF-like state at g μB h≈1.5 Tc0. The modulation vector Q in both phases is of the order of g μB h/ vF. The superfluid density ns yy vanishes in the region around the second-order transition line between the BCS state and the helical state. Nonmagnetic impurities suppress both inhomogeneous states and eliminate them completely at Tc0 τ≤0.11. However, once an account is made of the next-order term over the small parameter α/ vF 1, a relatively long wave helical modulation with Q∼g μB hα/ vF2 is found to develop from the BCS state. This ground state carries zero current in the thermodynamic limit; however, under the cyclic boundary conditions a kind of "spin-orbital Little-Parks oscillations" is predicted. The long-wave helical modulation is stable with respect to disorder. In addition, we show that vortex defects with a continuous core may exist near the phase boundary between the helical and the LOFF-like states. In particular, in the LOFF-like state these defects may carry a half-integer flux.

Original languageEnglish
Article number014522
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes


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