Resistance in Superconductors

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Resistance in Superconductors

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Title: Resistance in Superconductors
Author: Refael, Gil; Halperin, Bertrand I.; Demler, Eugene A.

Note: Order does not necessarily reflect citation order of authors.

Citation: Halperin, Bertrand, Gil Refael, and Eugene Demler. 2010. Resistance in Superconductors. International Journal of Modern Physics B 24(20-21): 4039-4080.
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Abstract: In this pedagogical review, we discuss how electrical resistance can arise in superconductors. Starting with the idea of the superconducting order parameter as a condensate wave function, we introduce vortices as topological excitations with quantized phase winding, and we show how phase slips occur when vortices cross the sample. Superconductors exhibit non-zero electrical resistance under circumstances where phase slips occur at a finite rate. For one-dimensional superconductors or Josephson junctions, phase slips can occur at isolated points in space-time. Phase slip rates may be controlled by thermal activation over a free-energy barrier, or in some circumstances, at low temperatures, by quantum tunneling through a barrier. We present an overview of several phenomena involving vortices that have direct implications for the electrical resistance of superconductors, including the Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless transition for vortex-proliferation in thin films, and the effects of vortex pinning in bulk type II superconductors on the non-linear resistivity of these materials in an applied magnetic field. We discuss how quantum fluctuations can cause phase slips and review the non-trivial role of dissipation on such fluctuations. We present a basic picture of the superconductor-to-insulator quantum phase transitions in films, wires, and Josephson junctions. We point out related problems in superfluid helium films and systems of ultra-cold trapped atoms. While our emphasis is on theoretical concepts, we also briefly describe experimental results, and we underline some of the open questions.
Published Version: doi://10.1142/S021797921005644X
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