Skyrme Insulators: Insulators at the Brink of Superconductivity

Onur Erten, Po Yao Chang, Piers Coleman, Alexei M. Tsvelik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number057603
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume119
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 4 2017
Externally publishedYes

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superconductivity
insulators
Meissner effect
superfluidity
Fermi surfaces
specific heat
ground state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Skyrme Insulators : Insulators at the Brink of Superconductivity. / Erten, Onur; Chang, Po Yao; Coleman, Piers; Tsvelik, Alexei M.

In: Physical Review Letters, Vol. 119, No. 5, 057603, 04.08.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Erten, Onur ; Chang, Po Yao ; Coleman, Piers ; Tsvelik, Alexei M. / Skyrme Insulators : Insulators at the Brink of Superconductivity. In: Physical Review Letters. 2017 ; Vol. 119, No. 5.
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