Z 3-vestigial nematic order due to superconducting fluctuations in the doped topological insulators NbxBi2Se3 and CuxBi2Se3

Chang woo Cho, Junying Shen, Jian Lyu, Omargeldi Atanov, Qianxue Chen, Seng Huat Lee, Yew San Hor, Dariusz Jakub Gawryluk, Ekaterina Pomjakushina, Marek Bartkowiak, Matthias Hecker, Jörg Schmalian, Rolf Lortz

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4 Scopus citations


A state of matter with a multi-component order parameter can give rise to vestigial order. In the vestigial phase, the primary order is only partially melted, leaving a remaining symmetry breaking behind, an effect driven by strong classical or quantum fluctuations. Vestigial states due to primary spin and charge-density-wave order have been discussed in iron-based and cuprate materials. Here we present the observation of a partially melted superconductivity in which pairing fluctuations condense at a separate phase transition and form a nematic state with broken Z3, i.e., three-state Potts-model symmetry. Thermal expansion, specific heat and magnetization measurements of the doped topological insulators NbxBi2Se3 and CuxBi2Se3 reveal that this symmetry breaking occurs at Tnem≃3.8K above Tc≃3.25K, along with an onset of superconducting fluctuations. Thus, before Cooper pairs establish long-range coherence at Tc, they fluctuate in a way that breaks the rotational invariance at Tnem and induces a crystalline distortion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3056
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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