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Gate-controlled BCS-BEC crossover in a two-dimensional superconductor

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Science  09 Apr 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6538, pp. 190-195
DOI: 10.1126/science.abb9860

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Inducing a crossover

In conventional superconductors, the electron pairs responsible for superconductivity are large and overlapping. Starting from this so-called Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer (BCS) limit, increasing interactions can set the system on a path of crossover to the opposite limit of small, tightly bound electron pairs that undergo Bose-Einstein condensation (BEC). Nakagawa et al. intercalated lithium ions into the insulating material zirconium nitride chloride, varying the carrier density across a large range (see the Perspective by Randeria). This induced superconductivity and enabled the system to enter the crossover regime between the BCS and BEC limits.

Science, this issue p. 190; see also p. 132

Abstract

Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer (BCS) superfluidity and Bose-Einstein condensation (BEC) are the two extreme limits of the ground state of the paired fermion systems. We report crossover behavior from the BCS limit to the BEC limit realized by varying carrier density in a two-dimensional superconductor, electron-doped zirconium nitride chloride. The phase diagram, established by simultaneous measurements of resistivity and tunneling spectra under ionic gating, demonstrates a pseudogap phase in the low-doping regime. The ratio of the superconducting transition temperature and Fermi temperature in the low–carrier density limit is consistent with the theoretical upper bound expected in the BCS-BEC crossover regime. These results indicate that the gate-doped semiconductor provides an ideal platform for the two-dimensional BCS-BEC crossover without added complexities present in other solid-state systems.

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