A Bose insulator composed of a low density of strongly localized Cooper pairs develops at the two-dimensional superconductor to insulator transition (SIT) in a number of thin film systems. Investigations of ultrathin amorphous PbBi films far from the SIT described here provide evidence that the Bose insulator gives way to a second insulating phase with decreasing film thickness. At a critical film thickness dc the magnetoresistance changes sign from positive, as expected for boson transport, to negative, as expected for fermion transport, signs of local Cooper-pair phase coherence effects on transport vanish, and the transport activation energy exhibits a kink. Below dc pairing fluctuation effects remain visible in the high-temperature transport while the activation energy continues to rise. These features show that Cooper pairing persists and suggest that the localized unpaired electron states involved in transport are interspersed among regions of strongly localized Cooper pairs in this strongly localized, low Cooper-pair density phase.
Physical Review B
American Physical Society
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
S. Hollen, G. E. Fernandes, J. M. Xu, and J. M. Valles, Jr., ‘Fate of the Bose insulator in the limit of strong localization and low Cooper-pair density in ultrathin films’, Physical Review B, vol. 90, no. 14, pp. 140506–1 – 140506–5, Oct. 2014.
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