Superconductors exhibit unconventional electronic and magnetic properties if the Cooper pair wave function breaks additional symmetries of the normal phase. Rotational symmetries in spin and orbital spaces, as well as discrete symmetries such as space and time inversion, may be spontaneously broken. When this occurs in conjunction with broken global U(1) gauge symmetry, new physical phenomena are exhibited below the superconducting transition that are characteristic of the broken symmetries of the pair condensate. This is particularly true of vortices and related defects. Superconductors with a multi-component order parameter exhibit a variety of different vortex structures and closely related defects that are not possible in condensates belonging to a one-dimensional (1D) representation. In this paper, we discuss the structure of vortices in fermionic superfluids and superconductors which break chiral symmetry, i.e. combined broken time inversion and 2D parity. In particular, we consider the structure of vortices and defects that might be realized in thin films of 3He-A and the layered superconductor Sr 2RuO 4, and identify some of the characteristic signatures of broken chiral symmetry that should be revealed by these defects.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)