The Transition Between Real and Complex Superconducting Order Parameter Phases in UPt3

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Science  11 Jun 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5984, pp. 1368-1369
DOI: 10.1126/science.1187943

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Order parameter symmetry is one of the basic characteristics of a superconductor. The heavy fermion compound UPt3 provides a rich system for studying the competition between superconductivity and other forms of electronic order and exhibits two distinct superconducting phases that are characterized by different symmetries. We fabricated a series of Josephson tunnel junctions on the as-grown surfaces of UPt3 single crystals spanning the a-b plane. By measuring their critical current, we mapped out the magnitude of the superconducting order parameter as a function of the momentum-space direction and temperature. In the high-temperature phase, we observed a sharp node in the superconducting gap at 45° with respect to the a axis; an out-of-phase component appeared in the low-temperature phase, creating a complex order parameter.

  • Present address: Department of Physics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2G7, Canada.

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