Research ArticleSUPERCONDUCTORS

Topological RPdBi half-Heusler semimetals: A new family of noncentrosymmetric magnetic superconductors

Science Advances  05 Jun 2015:
Vol. 1, no. 5, e1500242
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500242

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Abstract

We report superconductivity and magnetism in a new family of topological semimetals, the ternary half-Heusler compound RPdBi (R: rare earth). In this series, tuning of the rare earth f-electron component allows for simultaneous control of both lattice density via lanthanide contraction and the strength of magnetic interaction via de Gennes scaling, allowing for a unique tuning of the normal-state band inversion strength, superconducting pairing, and magnetically ordered ground states. Antiferromagnetism with ordering vector (½,½,½) occurs below a Néel temperature that scales with de Gennes factor dG, whereas a superconducting transition is simultaneously supressed with increasing dG. With superconductivity appearing in a system with noncentrosymmetric crystallographic symmetry, the possibility of spin-triplet Cooper pairing with nontrivial topology analogous to that predicted for the normal-state electronic structure provides a unique and rich opportunity to realize both predicted and new exotic excitations in topological materials.

Keywords
  • superconductivity
  • non-centrosymmetric
  • Topological insulator
  • Magnetism

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