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Nodal superconducting exchange coupling

Authors:   A Di Bernardo, S Komori, G Livanas, G Divitini, P Gentile, M Cuoco and JWA Robinson

Nature Materials 18, 1194–1200 (2019)

Abstract:A superconducting spin valve consists of a thin-film superconductor between two ferromagnetic layers. A change of magnetization alignment shifts the superconducting transition temperature (ΔΤc) due to an interplay between the magnetic exchange energy and the superconducting condensate. The magnitude of ΔΤc scales inversely with the superconductor thickness (dS) and is zero when dS exceeds the superconducting coherence length (ξ). Here, we report a superconducting spin-valve effect involving a different underlying mechanism in which magnetization alignment and ΔΤc are determined by nodal quasiparticle excitation states on the Fermi surface of the d-wave superconductor YBa2Cu3O7-δ sandwiched between insulating layers of ferromagnetic Pr0.8Ca0.2MnO3. We observe ΔΤc values that approach 2 K with the sign of ΔΤc oscillating with dS over a length scale exceeding 100ξ and, for particular values of dS, the superconducting state reinforces an antiparallel magnetization alignment. These results pave the way to all-oxide superconducting memory in which superconductivity modulates the magnetic state.

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