Vortex lattice melting into pinned liquid state in La2-xSrxCuO4

Y. Radzyner, A. Shaulov, Y. Yeshurun

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Magnetization measurements in La2-xSrxCuO4 (LSCO) crystals indicate vortex order-disorder transition manifested by a sharp kink in the second magnetization peak. The transition field exhibits unique temperature dependence, namely a strong decrease with temperature in the entire measured range. This behavior rules out the conventional interpretation of a disorder-driven transition into an entangled vortex solid phase. We argue that the transition in LSCO is driven by both thermally- and disorder-induced fluctuations. The resulting "pinned liquid" disordered state is characterized by large thermal fluctuations and irreversible magnetic behavior. We extend these results and postulate that melting, solid-solid, and solid to pinned liquid transitions, are special cases of a unified order-disorder phase transition driven by both thermally- and disorder-induced fluctuations. The temperature dependence of the transition line and the nature of the disordered phase (solid, liquid, or pinned liquid) are determined by the relative contributions of these fluctuations and by the pinning mechanism. By varying the pinning mechanism and the pinning strength one obtains a spectrum of transition lines. In order to test our numerical results we present studies on a series of irridiated LSCO crystals, and show that increase of pinning, causes a depression of the transition line as well as a decrease in the curvature as the transition line, in agreement with our calculations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)883-891
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Low Temperature Physics
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Jun 2003


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