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Phys Rev Lett. 2010 Jun 18;104(24):247002. Epub 2010 Jun 17.

Evidence for long-range correlations within arrays of spontaneously created magnetic vortices in a Nb thin-film superconductor.

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Department of Physics, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000, Israel.


We have imaged spontaneously created arrays of vortices (magnetic flux quanta), generated in a superconducting film quenched through its transition temperature at rates around 10(9)   K/s. The spontaneous appearance of vortices is predicted by the Kibble-Zurek and by the Hindmarsh-Rajantie models of phase transitions under nonequilibrium conditions. Differentiating between these models requires a measurement of the internal correlations within the emerging vortex array. In addition to short-range correlations predicted by Kibble and Zurek, we found unexpected long-range correlations which are not described by any of the existing models.

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