Domain control in the topological nematic superconductor SrxBi2Se3

Shingo Yonezawa

Topological superconductivity, accompanying non-trivial topology in its superconducting wave function, has been one of the central topics in condensed-matter physics. During the recent extensive efforts to search for topological superconducting phenomena, nematic superconductivity, exhibiting spontaneous rotational symmetry breaking in bulk superconducting quantities, has been discovered in the topological-superconductor candidates AxBi2Se3 (A = Cu, Sr, Nb) [1]. In the in-plane field-angle dependence of various superconducting properties, such as the spin susceptibility [2], the specific heat [3], and the upper critical field [4], exhibit pronounced two-fold symmetric behavior although the underlying lattice has three-fold rotational symmetry.
More recently, we succeeded in controlling nematic superconductivity in SrxBi2Se3 via external uniaxial strain [5]. In the trigonal AxBi2Se3 material, six kinds of nematic domains can be realized. By applying uniaxial strain in situ using a piezo-based uniaxial-strain device [6], we reversibly controlled the superconducting nematic domain structure. Namely, the multi-domain state under zero strain can be changed into a nearly single-domain state under 1% uniaxial compression along the a axis. This result indicates strong coupling between nematic superconductivity and lattice distortion. Moreover, this is the first achievement of domain engineering using nematic superconductors.
In this talk, I overview experiments on nematic superconductivity, with a focus on our specific-heat study of CuxBi2Se3 [3]. I then explain our recent demonstration of uniaxial-strain control of nematic superconductivity in SrxBi2Se3 [5,6].

[1] For a recent review, see S. Yonezawa, Condens. Matter 4, 2 (2019)
[2] K. Matano et al., Nature Phys. 12, 852 (2016)
[3] S. Yonezawa et al., Nature Phys. 13, 123 (2017)
[4] Y. Pan et al., Sci. Rep. 6, 28632 (2016)
[5] I. Kostylev, S. Yonezawa et al., Nature Commun. 11, 4152 (2020)
[6] I. Kostylev, S. Yonezawa, Y. Maeno, J. Appl. Phys. 125, 082535 (2019)