Quantum Criticality at the Superconductor-Insulator Transition Probed by the Nernst Effect

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The superconductor-insulator transition (SIT) is an excellent example of a quantum phase transition at zero temperature, dominated by quantum fluctuations. These are expected to be very prominent close to the quantum critical point. So far, most of the experimental studies of the SIT have concentrated on transport properties and tunneling experiments that provide indirect information on criticality close to the transition. Here we present an experiment uniquely designed to study the evolution of quantum fluctuations through the quantum critical point. We utilize the Nernst effect, which has been shown to be effective in probing superconducting fluctuation. We measure the Nernst coefficient in amorphous indium oxide films tuned through the SIT and find a large signal on both the superconducting and the insulating sides, which peaks close to the critical point. The transverse Peltier coefficient αxy, which is the thermodynamic quantity extracted from these measurements, follows quantum critical scaling with critical exponents ν∼0.7 and z∼1. These exponents are consistent with a clean X-Y model in 2+1 dimensions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number047003
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - 27 Jul 2018

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© 2018 American Physical Society.


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