Superconductivity that breaks time-reversal symmetry and its experimental manifestations
28 September 2019 in 11:30
Victor Yakovenko (University of Maryland)
Since 2006, it has been found experimentally that superconductivity spontaneously breaks time-reversal symmetry (TRS) in certain materials, such as Sr2RuO4, UPt3, URu2Si2, and Bi/Ni bilayers. In the latter case, we argue that the superconducting order parameter has the winding number of +-2 around the Fermi surface, thus making Bi/Ni bilayers a rare example of intrinsic 2D topological superconductivity . The experimental evidence for TRS breaking comes from the polar Kerr effect, which is rotation of polarization of normally incident light upon reflection from the sample. Theoretical studies indicate that this effect is possible only if a superconductor has more than one band. To clarify these conditions, we study a model of chiral TRS-breaking superconductivity on the honeycomb lattice . We consider superconducting pairing on the neighboring sites belonging to different sublattices. The matrix of this superconducting pairing is non-unitary and does not commute with the normal-state Hamiltonian. We find that the latter condition is necessary for experimental manifestations of the TRS breaking. We show that such superconducting pairing generates persistent loop currents around each lattice site and opens a topological mass gap at the Dirac points with the corresponding chiral edge states, as in Haldane's model of the quantum anomalous Hall effect. We calculate the intrinsic ac Hall conductivity in the absence of an external magnetic field, which determines the polar Kerr effect, and show that it is proportional to the loop-current order parameter.
-  X. Gong, M. Kargarian, A. Stern, D. Yue, H. Zhou, X. Jin, V. M. Galitski, V. M. Yakovenko, and J. Xia, Science Advances 3, e1602579 (2017), arXiv:1609.08538
-  P. M. R. Brydon, D. S. L. Abergel, D. F. Agterberg, and V. M. Yakovenko, arXiv:1802.02280
Quantum electrodynamics of heavy ions and atoms
5 October in 11:30
Vladimir M. Shabaev
The present status of the QED theory of heavy ions and atoms is reviewed. The theoretical predictions for the Lamb shifts, the hyperfine splittings, and the bound-electron g factors of highly charged few-electron ions are compared with available experimental data. Special attention is paid to tests of QED at strong-coupling regime and determination of fundamental constants. The current status of studying the parity nonconservation effects with heavy atoms is also reported. Recent results on the charge-transfer and pair-creation probabilities in low-energy heavy-ion collisions are presented. Prospects for tests of QED at supercritical fields are discussed.
Quantum Many-Body Physics of Qubits
22 June in 11:30
Leonid Glazman (Yale University)
The ongoing development of superconducting qubits has brought some basic questions of many-body physics to the research forefront, and in some cases helped solving them. I will address two effects in quantum condensed matter highlighted by the development of a fluxonium qubit. The first one is the so-called cosine-phi problem stemming from the seminal paper of Brian Josephson: the predicted there phase dependence of the dissipative current across a Josephson junction was observed in a fluxonium, after nearly 50 years of unsuccessful attempts by other techniques. The second one is the dynamics of a weakly-pinned charge density wave: we predict that the dynamics may be revealed in measurements of microwave reflection off a superinductor, which is a key element of the fluxonium.
Eukaryotic cell polarity and protein sorting
27 April in 11:30
Andrea Gamba, Politecnico di Torino
I will review some of the biophysical processes that allow eukaryotic cells to break their native symmetry and polarize in order to provide adequate responses to signals and properly adapt to the environment. An essential part of the process is the incessant spatial reorganization of membrane-bound proteins due to the action of reinforcing biochemical feedback loops that contrast the homogenizing effect of diffusion. A second component is the coupling of protein and lipid dynamics: protein crowding induces the bending of lipid membranes and the nucleation of small lipid vesicles enriched in specific molecular factors destined to be targeted to appropriate destinations. This mechanism leads to an incessant distillation process controlled by the strength of protein-protein interactions. A phenomenological theory of the process can be developed, predicting the existence of an optimal distillation regime characterized by simple scaling laws. Experiments suggest that living cells work close to this optimal regime, likely as the result of evolutionary pressure.
Chiral magnetic crystals
23 March in 11:30
Markus Garst (TU Dresden)
The weak Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction in chiral cubic magnets like MnSi, FeGe or Cu2OSeO3 twists the magnetization on long length scales resulting in spatially periodic magnetic textures — magnetic crystals. There exist especially magnetic crystals with a one- and two-dimensional periodicity corresponding to the magnetic helix and the topologically non-trivial skyrmion lattice, respectively. In this talk, we provide an overview of their properties. In particular, we discuss the crystallization process of these magnetic crystals that is characterized by strongly correlated chiral paramagnons that drive the transition first-order [1,2]. This fluctuation-induced first-order transition is well described by a theory put forward by Brazovskii. We will introduce the magnon band structure and their non-reciprocal properties in the presence of a magnetic field [3,4]. For the skyrmion lattice, this band structure is topological and characterized by finite Chern numbers that can be attributed to the formation of magnon Landau levels due to an emergent orbital magnetic field [5,6,7]. Finally, we will discuss domain walls of helimagnets that share similarities with grain boundaries consisting of disclination and dislocation defects of the helimagnetic order .
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-  T. Weber et al. arXiv:1708.02098
-  C. Schütte and M. Garst, Phys. Rev. B 90, 094423 (2014).
-  T. Schwarze, J. Waizner, M. Garst, A. Bauer, I. Stasinopoulos, H. Berger, C. Pfleiderer, and D. Grundler, Nat. Mater. 14, 478 (2015).
-  M. Garst J. Waizner, and D. Grundler, J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 50, 293002 (2017)
-  P. Schoenherr et al. Nat. Phys. in press, arXiv:1704.06288