Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Pharmacology, Physiology and Neuroscience

First Advisor

Milind Kunchur


The Bi2Te3/FeTe heterostructure intersects several phenomena and key classes of materials in condensed matter physics: topological insulators, superconductivity, magnetism, and the physics of interfaces. While neither the topological insulator (BiTe) nor the iron chalcogenide (FeTe) are themselves superconductors, superconductivity forms in a thin 7nm interfacial layer between the two. The restricted dimensionality and the extraordinarily conductive normal state, possibly sourced by the topologically protected surface states, have led to the observation of novel phenomena such as the Likharev vortex explosion and transitions in behavior resulting from the interplay between current induced depairing and the Berezinski-Kosterlitz-Thouless regime. The measured depairing current density provides information on the magnetic penetration depth and superfluid density, which in turn sheds light on the nature of the normal state that underlies the interfacial superconductivity. We observe a transition in the current- resistance and temperature-resistance curves that quantitatively agrees with the Likharev vortex-explosion phenomenon. In the limit of low temperatures and high current densities, we were able to demonstrate the regime of complete vortex-antivortex dissociation arising from current driven vortex-antivortex pair breaking.

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