Twofold spontaneous symmetry breaking in the heavy-fermion superconductor UPt3.

Department of Physics, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Meguro 152-8551, Japan.
Physical Review Letters (Impact Factor: 7.73). 04/2012; 108(15):157002. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.108.157002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The field-orientation dependent thermal conductivity of the heavy-fermion superconductor UPt3 was measured down to very low temperatures and under magnetic fields throughout the distinct superconducting phases: B and C phases. In the C phase, a striking twofold oscillation of the thermal conductivity within the basal plane is resolved reflecting the superconducting gap structure with a line of node along the a axis. Moreover, we find an abrupt vanishing of the oscillation across a transition to the B phase, as a clear indication of a change of gap symmetries. We also identify extra two line nodes below and above the equator in both B and C phases. From these results together with the symmetry consideration, the gap function of UPt3 is determined as a E(1u) representation characterized by a combination of two line nodes at the tropics and point nodes at the poles.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Josephson critical current Ic between a single-crystal UPt3 and Al has been measured for the junctions on the UPt3 surface perpendicular to the hexagonal a[11\bar{2}0], b[10\bar{1}0], and c[0001] axes. The magnetic field dependence of Ic shows a Fraunhofer diffraction pattern for a current flow parallel to the c-axis, suggesting that the Josephson coupling is uniform throughout the junction. Small modifications applied to the Fraunhofer pattern have been observed for a current flow parallel to the a- and b-axes. These results contradict the E2u scenario for the odd-parity order parameter in UPt3, in which the Josephson effect is forbidden in the three directions, whereas the recently proposed E1u scenario permits, at least, the a- and c-axis Josephson couplings.
    Journal of the Physical Society of Japan 11/2012; 81(11):3701-. · 1.48 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Models of superconductivity in unconventional materials can be experimentally differentiated by the predictions they make for the symmetries of the superconducting order parameter. In the case of the heavy-fermion superconductor UPt3, a key question is whether its multiple superconducting phases preserve or break time-reversal symmetry (TRS). We tested for asymmetry in the phase shift between left and right circularly polarized light reflected from a single crystal of UPt3 at normal incidence and found that this so-called polar Kerr effect appears only below the lower of the two zero-field superconducting transition temperatures. Our results provide evidence for broken TRS in the low-temperature superconducting phase of UPt3, implying a complex two-component order parameter for superconductivity in this system.
    Science (New York, N.Y.). 07/2014; 345(6193):190-3.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Crystal point group symmetry is shown to protect Majorana fermions (MFs) in spinfull superconductors (SCs). We elucidate the condition necessary to obtain MFs protected by the point group symmetry. We reveal that superconductivity in Sr2RuO4 hosts a topological phase transition to a topological crystalline SC, which accompanies a d-vector rotation under a magnetic field along the c-axis. Taking all three bands and spin-orbit interactions into account, symmetry-protected MFs in the topological crystalline SC are identified. Detection of such MFs provides evidence of the d-vector rotation in Sr2RuO4 expected from Knight shift measurements but not yet verified.


Available from