Observation of Half-Height Magnetization Steps in Sr2RuO4

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Science  14 Jan 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6014, pp. 186-188
DOI: 10.1126/science.1193839

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Spin-triplet superfluids can support exotic objects, such as half-quantum vortices characterized by the nontrivial winding of the spin structure. We present cantilever magnetometry measurements performed on mesoscopic samples of Sr2RuO4, a spin-triplet superconductor. With micrometer-sized annular-shaped samples, we observed transitions between integer fluxoid states as well as a regime characterized by “half-integer transitions”—steps in the magnetization with half the height of the ones we observed between integer fluxoid states. These half-height steps are consistent with the existence of half-quantum vortices in superconducting Sr2RuO4.

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