Evidence for bulk superconductivity in pure bismuth single crystals at ambient pressure

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Science  01 Dec 2016:
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf8227

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At ambient pressure, bulk rhombohedral bismuth (Bi) is a semimetal that remains in the normal state down to at least 10 mK. The superconductivity (SC) in bulk Bi is thought to be unlikely because of the extremely low carrier density. We observe bulk SC in pure Bi single crystals below 0.53 mK under ambient pressure with an estimated critical magnetic field of 5.2 μT at 0 K. SC in Bi cannot be explained by the conventional Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer theory because its adiabatic approximation does not hold true for Bi. Future theoretical work will be needed to understand SC in the non-adiabatic limit in systems with low-carrier density and unusual band structure, such as Bi.

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