Quantum Griffiths singularities in TiO superconducting thin films with insulating normal states
NPG Asia Materials 11(1):76- Dec 2019 

Zhang, Chao; Fan, Yunjie; Chen, Qiaoling; Wang, Tianyi; Liu, Xiang; Li, Qi; Yin, Yuewei; Li, Xiaoguang


A superconductor–metal transition (SMT) with an unconventional diverging dynamic critical exponent was recently discovered, and it drew tremendous attention because this signature of a quantum Griffiths singularity (QGS) was thought to be a common characteristic of low-disorder crystalline superconductors. However, because the QGS was observed only in limited materials with metallic normal states, the question of whether the QGS exists in other superconducting systems is still unanswered. In this paper, a superconductor–insulator transition (SIT) is observed in TiO thin films with insulating normal states, which offers a more universal platform for investigating the QGS. A thickness-tuned SIT is obtained when the magnetic field is zero. Importantly, a magnetic field-tuned SIT with a diverging dynamic critical exponent, which is direct evidence of a QGS, is observed in TiO thin films with different thicknesses. By constructing a comprehensive phase diagram, it is demonstrated that the critical magnetic field Hc tends to saturate as the temperature approaches 0 K, which is different from the upturn trend of Hc observed in SMT systems and probably due to the weaker Josephson coupling of the locally ordered superconducting islands (rare regions) in a weakly insulating normal state background. The results extend the QGS scenario from only SMT systems to SIT systems, and they provide vital evidence that QGSs are common in crystalline superconducting thin films, which has possible applications in quantum-computing devices.


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