Two-Gap Superconductivity in LaNiGa2 with Nonunitary Triplet Pairing and Even Parity Gap Symmetry

Z.F. Weng, J.L. Zhang, M Smidman, T. Shang, Jorge Quintanilla, James F Annett, M. Nicklas, G.M. Pang, L. Jiao, Y.B. Jiang, Y. Chen, F. Steglich, H.Q. Yuan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

The nature of the pairing states of superconducting LaNiC2 and LaNiGa2 has to date remained a puzzling question. Broken time reversal symmetry has been observed in both compounds and a group theoretical analysis implies a nonunitary triplet pairing state. However, all the allowed nonunitary triplet states have nodal gap functions but most thermodynamic and NMR measurements indicate fully gapped superconductivity in LaNiC2. Here we probe the gap symmetry of LaNiGa2 by measuring the London penetration depth, specific heat, and upper critical field. These measurements demonstrate two-gap nodeless superconductivity in LaNiGa2, suggesting that this is a common feature of both compounds. These results allow us to propose a novel triplet superconducting state, where the pairing occurs between electrons of the same spin, but on different orbitals. In this case the superconducting wave function has a triplet spin component but isotropic even parity gap symmetry, yet the overall wave function remains antisymmetric under particle exchange. This model leads to a nodeless two-gap superconducting state which breaks time reversal symmetry, and therefore accounts well for the seemingly contradictory experimental results.
Original languageEnglish
Article number027001
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume117
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2016

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