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Topological nature of the transition between the gap and the gapless superconducting states

Authors: Yuriy Yerin, Andrei Varlamov and Caterina Petrillo

EPL in press

Abstract: Recently it was demonstrated that the long-known transition between the gap and gapless superconducting states in the Abrikosov-Gor’kov theory of superconducting alloy with paramagnetic impurities is of the Lifshitz’s type, i.e. at zero temperature this is the $2\frac12$ order phase transition. Since transitions of this kind in a normal metal are always associated to certain topological changes, then below we clarify the topological nature of the transition under consideration. Namely, we demonstrate that the topological invariant which in process of the transition undergoes the change is nothing else as the Euler characteristic. Alternatively, in terms of the theory of catastrophes one can relate this transition to appearance of the cuspidal edge at the corresponding surface of the density of states as the function of energy and superconducting order parameter. The concept of experiments for the confirmation of $2\frac12$ order topological phase transition is proposed. Obtained theoretical results can be applied for the explanation of recent experiments with lightwave-induced gapless superconductivity, for the interpretation of the disorder induced transition $s_{\pm}$-$s_{++}$ states via gapless phase in two-band superconductors, and the emergence of gapless color superconductivity in quantum chromodynamics.


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