Synopsis: Unlikely partners

A new phase of coexisting superconductivity and magnetic order is discovered in CeCoIn5.
Synopsis figure
Illustration: G. Koutroulakis et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. (2010)

Although superconductivity and magnetism are inherently competing orders, there exist materials that can host both simultaneously, such as heavy fermion systems, some cuprate superconductors, and the newly discovered pnictide superconductors. An example of such a system is the much studied heavy fermion system CeCoIn5. Application of a magnetic field in its superconducting state can drastically affect superconductivity and can also induce magnetic order, depending on the strength of the field and the temperature.

In the latest issue of Physical Review Letters, Georgios Koutroulakis and collaborators from Brown University in the US and the Laboratoire National des Champs Magnétiques Intenses in Grenoble, France, report a detailed low-temperature NMR investigation of the phase diagram of CeCoIn5. They find that the magnetic order induced at high fields is an incommensurate spin-density wave, which likely coexists with a so-called Fulde-Ferrell-Larkin-Ovchinnikov phase—a superconducting state with a spatially modulated order parameter. They also discover a new phase lying between the incommensurate spin-density wave state and the low-field ordinary superconductivity; they conjecture that it is a different kind of Fulde-Ferrell-Larkin-Ovchinnikov phase. – Alex Klironomos


More Announcements »

Subject Areas

SuperconductivityStrongly Correlated Materials

Previous Synopsis

Strongly Correlated Materials

One-dimensional fermions out of equilibrium

Read More »

Related Articles

Synopsis: Superconductivity Model Misses Its Target

Synopsis: Superconductivity Model Misses Its Target

Researchers have added dopant atoms to a quantum spin liquid in an effort to make it superconduct, but the material upended theory by remaining an insulator. Read More »

Focus: Nobel Prize—Topological Phases of Matter
Condensed Matter Physics

Focus: Nobel Prize—Topological Phases of Matter

The 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to theoretical physicists whose work established the role of topology in understanding exotic forms of matter. Read More »

Focus: Detecting Photons With a Thermometer

Focus: Detecting Photons With a Thermometer

A new technique detects as few as 200 microwave photons at a time by the heat they supply to an electrical circuit. Read More »

More Articles