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Topological phase transitions in multi-component superconductors

Abstract

We study the phase transition between a trivial and a time-reversal-invariant topological superconductor in a single-band system. By analyzing the interplay of symmetry, topology and energetics, we show that for a generic normal state band structure, the phase transition occurs via extended intermediate phases in which even- and odd-parity pairing components coexist. For inversion-symmetric systems, the coexistence phase spontaneously breaks time-reversal symmetry. For noncentrosymmetric superconductors, the low-temperature intermediate phase is time-reversal breaking, while the high-temperature phase preserves time-reversal symmetry and has topologically protected line nodes. Furthermore, with approximate rotational invariance, the system has an emergent U(1)Γ—U(1)U(1) \times U(1) symmetry, and novel topological defects, such as half vortex lines binding Majorana fermions, can exist. We analytically solve for the dispersion of the Majorana fermion and show that it exhibit small and large velocities at low and high energies. Relevance of our theory to superconducting pyrochlore oxide Cd2_2Re2_2O7_7 and half-Heusler materials is discussed.Comment: 14 pages, 7 figures; to appear on Phys. Rev. Let

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