Electrical transport properties of URhGe and BiPd at very low temperature
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URhGe has garnered interest recently as one of the few known ferromagnetic superconductors. The superconductivity in this material appears to arise from magnetic fluctuations rather than phonons, and take a triplet form which is remarkably resistant to field. In this thesis, a number of measurements on the material are presented. Some probe the Fermiology, with strong evidence appearing for a model which has both light open sheets and heavy, small, closed pockets. The open sheets, associated with chains of real-space electron density running along the $b$ axis, dominate the conductivity in most circumstances. Evidence for their existence arises from the general large and non-saturating magnetoresistance, and from the unusual observation of negative temperature coefficient of resistance at high fields. The closed pockets have provided a few Shubnikov-de Haas oscillations, but mostly they remain inferred from the high specific heat $gamma$ and their role in the magnetism. In order to better probe the superconductivity, a high precision low noise DC resistance measurement bridge was built using a SQUID. Along with conventional measurements, this provides evidence that the two pockets of superconductivity on the phase diagram are the same phase. The re-entrance can be understood simply as a result of magnetic field being a tuning parameter, but also suppressing bulk superconductivity through orbital limiting. The SQUID bridge allowed the detection of domain wall superconductivity linking up these two pockets. The SQUID bridge was also used to study the highly structured superconducting transition in BiPd. This material lacks inversion symmetry in its crystal structure, so is a good candidate for unusual forms of superconductivity. Here again non-bulk superconductivity is considered the most likely cause for the structure. Unusual and distinctive IV curves have been measured, and a simple model of inhomogeneous conductivity channels with different critical currents is proposed as an explanation.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2017-02-18
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 18th February 2017
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