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Title: Anomalous metals: From “failed superconductor” to “failed insulator”
Resistivity saturation is found on both superconducting and insulating sides of an “avoided” magnetic-field-tuned superconductor-to-insulator transition (H-SIT) in a two-dimensional In/InO x composite, where the anomalous metallic behavior cuts off conductivity or resistivity divergence in the zero-temperature limit. The granular morphology of the material implies a system of Josephson junctions (JJs) with a broad distribution of Josephson coupling E J and charging energy E C , with an H-SIT determined by the competition between E J and E C . By virtue of self-duality across the true H-SIT, we invoke macroscopic quantum tunneling effects to explain the temperature-independent resistance where the “failed superconductor” side is a consequence of phase fluctuations and the “failed insulator” side results from charge fluctuations. While true self-duality is lost in the avoided transition, its vestiges are argued to persist, owing to the incipient duality of the percolative nature of the dissipative path in the underlying random JJ system.
Authors:
; ;
Award ID(s):
1808385
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10348815
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Volume:
119
Issue:
29
ISSN:
0027-8424
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. Abstract

    Many experiments investigating magnetic-field tuned superconductor-insulator transition (H-SIT) often exhibit low-temperature resistance saturation, which is interpreted as an anomalous metallic phase emerging from a ‘failed superconductor’, thus challenging conventional theory. Here we study a random granular array of indium islands grown on a gateable layer of indium-oxide. By tuning the intergrain couplings, we reveal a wide range of magnetic fields where resistance saturation is observed, under conditions of careful electromagnetic filtering and within a wide range of linear response. Exposure to external broadband noise or microwave radiation is shown to strengthen the tendency of superconductivity, where at low field a global superconducting phase is restored. Increasing magnetic field unveils an ‘avoided H-SIT’ that exhibits granularity-induced logarithmic divergence of the resistance/conductance above/below that transition, pointing to possible vestiges of the original emergent duality observed in a true H-SIT. We conclude that anomalous metallic phase is intimately associated with inherent inhomogeneities, exhibiting robust behavior at attainable temperatures for strongly granular two-dimensional systems.

  2. Abstract

    Experiments investigating magnetic-field-tuned superconductor–insulator transition (HSIT) mostly focus on two-dimensional material systems where the transition and its proximate ground-state phases, often exhibit features that are seemingly at odds with the expected behavior. Here we present a complementary study of a three-dimensional pressure-packed amorphous indium-oxide (InOx) powder where granularity controls the HSIT. Above a low threshold pressure of ∼0.2 GPa, vestiges of superconductivity are detected, although neither a true superconducting transition nor insulating behavior are observed. Instead, a saturation at very high resistivity at low pressure is followed by saturation at very low resistivity at higher pressure. We identify both as different manifestations of anomalous metallic phases dominated by superconducting fluctuations. By analogy with previous identification of the low resistance saturation as a ‘failed superconductor’, our data suggests that the very high resistance saturation is a manifestation of a ‘failed insulator’. Above a threshold pressure of ∼6 GPa, the sample becomes fully packed, and superconductivity is robust, withTCtunable with pressure. A quantum critical point atPC∼ 25 GPa marks the complete suppression of superconductivity. For a finite pressure belowPC, a magnetic field is shown to induce a HSIT from a true zero-resistance superconducting state to a weakly insulating behavior. Determining the critical field,HC, wemore »show that similar to the 2D behavior, the insulating-like state maintains a superconducting character, which is quenched at higher field, above which the magnetoresistance decreases to its fermionic normal state value.

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Fig. 3(b) shows the tunneling probability T according to the Kane two-band model in the three materials, In0.53Ga0.47As, GaAs, and GaN, following our observation of a similar electroluminescence mechanism in GaN/AlN RTDs (due to strong polarization field of wurtzite structures) [8]. The expression is Tinter = (2/9)∙exp[(-2 ∙Ug 2 ∙me)/(2h∙P∙E)], where Ug is the bandgap energy, P is the valence-to-conduction-band momentum matrix element, and E is the electric field. Values for the highest calculated internal E fields for the InGaAs and GaN are also shown, indicating that Tinter in those structures approaches values of ~10-5. As shown, a GaAs RTD would require an internal field of ~6×105 V/cm, which is rarely realized in standard GaAs RTDs, perhaps explaining why there have been few if any reports of room-temperature electroluminescence in the GaAs devices. [1] E.R. Brown,et al., Appl. Phys. Lett., vol. 58, 2291, 1991. [5] S. Sze, Physics of Semiconductor Devices, 2nd Ed. 12.2.1 (Wiley, 1981). [2] M. Feiginov et al., Appl. Phys. Lett., 99, 233506, 2011. [6] L. Coldren, Diode Lasers and Photonic Integrated Circuits, (Wiley, 1995). [3] Y. Nishida et al., Nature Sci. Reports, 9, 18125, 2019. [7] E.O. Kane, J. of Appl. Phy 32, 83 (1961). [4] P. Fakhimi, et al., 2019 DRC Conference Digest. [8] T. Growden, et al., Nature Light: Science & Applications 7, 17150 (2018). [5] S. Sze, Physics of Semiconductor Devices, 2nd Ed. 12.2.1 (Wiley, 1981). [6] L. Coldren, Diode Lasers and Photonic Integrated Circuits, (Wiley, 1995). [7] E.O. Kane, J. of Appl. Phy 32, 83 (1961). [8] T. Growden, et al., Nature Light: Science & Applications 7, 17150 (2018).« less