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Phys Rev Lett. 2017 Aug 4;119(5):057603. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.057603. Epub 2017 Aug 4.

Skyrme Insulators: Insulators at the Brink of Superconductivity.

Author information

1
Center for Materials Theory, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854, USA.
2
Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, D-01187 Dresden, Germany.
3
Department of Physics, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX, United Kingdom.
4
Division of Condensed Matter Physics and Material Science, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York 11973, USA.

Abstract

Current theories of superfluidity are based on the idea of a coherent quantum state with topologically protected quantized circulation. When this topological protection is absent, as in the case of ^{3}He-A, the coherent quantum state no longer supports persistent superflow. Here, we argue that the loss of topological protection in a superconductor gives rise to an insulating ground state. We specifically introduce the concept of a Skyrme insulator to describe the coherent dielectric state that results from the topological failure of superflow carried by a complex-vector order parameter. We apply this idea to the case of SmB_{6}, arguing that the observation of a diamagnetic Fermi surface within an insulating bulk can be understood as a realization of this state. Our theory enables us to understand the linear specific heat of SmB_{6} in terms of a neutral Majorana Fermi sea and leads us to predict that in low fields of order a Gauss, SmB_{6} will develop a Meissner effect.

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