Strain-switchable field-induced superconductivity

Sci Adv. 2023 Nov 24;9(47):eadj5200. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.adj5200. Epub 2023 Nov 24.


Field-induced superconductivity is a rare phenomenon where an applied magnetic field enhances or induces superconductivity. Here, we use applied stress as a control switch between a field-tunable superconducting state and a robust non-field-tunable state. This marks the first demonstration of a strain-tunable superconducting spin valve with infinite magnetoresistance. We combine tunable uniaxial stress and applied magnetic field on the ferromagnetic superconductor Eu(Fe0.88Co0.12)2As2 to shift the field-induced zero-resistance temperature between 4 K and a record-high value of 10 K. We use x-ray diffraction and spectroscopy measurements under stress and field to reveal that strain tuning of the nematic order and field tuning of the ferromagnetism act as independent control parameters of the superconductivity. Combining comprehensive measurements with DFT calculations, we propose that field-induced superconductivity arises from a novel mechanism, namely, the uniquely dominant effect of the Eu dipolar field when the exchange field splitting is nearly zero.