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Journal Articles Nature Communications Year : 2017

Quantum criticality at the superconductor-insulator transition revealed by specific heat measurements

Abstract

The superconductor–insulator transition (SIT) is considered an excellent example of a quantum phase transition that is driven by quantum fluctuations at zero temperature. The quantum critical point is characterized by a diverging correlation length and a vanishing energy scale. Low-energy fluctuations near quantum criticality may be experimentally detected by specific heat, c p , measurements. Here we use a unique highly sensitive experiment to measure c p of two-dimensional granular Pb films through the SIT. The specific heat shows the usual jump at the mean field superconducting transition temperature T mf c marking the onset of Cooper pairs formation. As the film thickness is tuned towards the SIT, T mf c is relatively unchanged, while the magnitude of the jump and low-temperature specific heat increase significantly. This behaviour is taken as the thermodynamic fingerprint of quantum criticality in the vicinity of a quantum phase transition.
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hal-01496510 , version 1 (27-03-2017)

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S. Poran, T. Nguyen-Duc, A Auerbach, N Dupuis, A. Frydman, et al.. Quantum criticality at the superconductor-insulator transition revealed by specific heat measurements. Nature Communications, 2017, 8, pp.14464. ⟨10.1038/ncomms14464⟩. ⟨hal-01496510⟩
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