Skyrme Insulators: Insulators at the Brink of Superconductivity

Skyrme Insulators: Insulators at the Brink of Superconductivity Current theories of superfluidity are based on the idea of a coherent quantum state with topologically protected quantized circulation. When this topological protection is absent, as in the case of He3-A, the coherent quantum state no longer supports persistent superflow. Here, we argue that the loss of topological protection in a superconductor gives rise to an insulating ground state. We specifically introduce the concept of a Skyrme insulator to describe the coherent dielectric state that results from the topological failure of superflow carried by a complex-vector order parameter. We apply this idea to the case of SmB6, arguing that the observation of a diamagnetic Fermi surface within an insulating bulk can be understood as a realization of this state. Our theory enables us to understand the linear specific heat of SmB6 in terms of a neutral Majorana Fermi sea and leads us to predict that in low fields of order a Gauss, SmB6 will develop a Meissner effect. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Physical Review Letters American Physical Society (APS)

Skyrme Insulators: Insulators at the Brink of Superconductivity

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Skyrme Insulators: Insulators at the Brink of Superconductivity

Abstract

Current theories of superfluidity are based on the idea of a coherent quantum state with topologically protected quantized circulation. When this topological protection is absent, as in the case of He3-A, the coherent quantum state no longer supports persistent superflow. Here, we argue that the loss of topological protection in a superconductor gives rise to an insulating ground state. We specifically introduce the concept of a Skyrme insulator to describe the coherent dielectric state that results from the topological failure of superflow carried by a complex-vector order parameter. We apply this idea to the case of SmB6, arguing that the observation of a diamagnetic Fermi surface within an insulating bulk can be understood as a realization of this state. Our theory enables us to understand the linear specific heat of SmB6 in terms of a neutral Majorana Fermi sea and leads us to predict that in low fields of order a Gauss, SmB6 will develop a Meissner effect.
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Publisher
American Physical Society (APS)
Copyright
Copyright © © 2017 American Physical Society
ISSN
0031-9007
eISSN
1079-7114
D.O.I.
10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.057603
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Current theories of superfluidity are based on the idea of a coherent quantum state with topologically protected quantized circulation. When this topological protection is absent, as in the case of He3-A, the coherent quantum state no longer supports persistent superflow. Here, we argue that the loss of topological protection in a superconductor gives rise to an insulating ground state. We specifically introduce the concept of a Skyrme insulator to describe the coherent dielectric state that results from the topological failure of superflow carried by a complex-vector order parameter. We apply this idea to the case of SmB6, arguing that the observation of a diamagnetic Fermi surface within an insulating bulk can be understood as a realization of this state. Our theory enables us to understand the linear specific heat of SmB6 in terms of a neutral Majorana Fermi sea and leads us to predict that in low fields of order a Gauss, SmB6 will develop a Meissner effect.

Journal

Physical Review LettersAmerican Physical Society (APS)

Published: Aug 4, 2017

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