Russian Academy of Sciences

Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics

Seminars at the Landau Institute scientific council

Superconductivity that breaks time-reversal symmetry and its experimental manifestations

28 September in 11:30

Victor Yakovenko (University of Maryland)

Since 2006, it has been found experimentally that superconductivity spontaneously breaks time-reversal symmetry (TRS) in certain materials, such as Sr2RuO4, UPt3, URu2Si2, and Bi/Ni bilayers. In the latter case, we argue that the superconducting order parameter has the winding number of +-2 around the Fermi surface, thus making Bi/Ni bilayers a rare example of intrinsic 2D topological superconductivity [1]. The experimental evidence for TRS breaking comes from the polar Kerr effect, which is rotation of polarization of normally incident light upon reflection from the sample. Theoretical studies indicate that this effect is possible only if a superconductor has more than one band. To clarify these conditions, we study a model of chiral TRS-breaking superconductivity on the honeycomb lattice [2]. We consider superconducting pairing on the neighboring sites belonging to different sublattices. The matrix of this superconducting pairing is non-unitary and does not commute with the normal-state Hamiltonian. We find that the latter condition is necessary for experimental manifestations of the TRS breaking. We show that such superconducting pairing generates persistent loop currents around each lattice site and opens a topological mass gap at the Dirac points with the corresponding chiral edge states, as in Haldane's model of the quantum anomalous Hall effect. We calculate the intrinsic ac Hall conductivity in the absence of an external magnetic field, which determines the polar Kerr effect, and show that it is proportional to the loop-current order parameter.
[1] X. Gong, M. Kargarian, A. Stern, D. Yue, H. Zhou, X. Jin, V. M. Galitski, V. M. Yakovenko, and J. Xia, Science Advances 3, e1602579 (2017), arXiv:1609.08538
[2] P. M. R. Brydon, D. S. L. Abergel, D. F. Agterberg, and V. M. Yakovenko, arXiv:1802.02280

Seminars are held on Fridays in the conference hall of Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics in Chernogolovka, beginning at 11:30.

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