Physics – Condensed Matter – Superconductivity
27 pages in preprint style, 11 Figures
This work reports on the novel Heusler superconductor ZrNi2Ga. Compared to other nickel-based superconductors with Heusler structure, ZrNi2Ga exhibits a relatively high superconducting transition temperature of Tc=2.9 K and an upper critical field of 1.5 T. Electronic structure calculations show that this relatively high transition temperature is caused by a van Hove singularity, which leads to an enhanced density of states at the Fermi energy. The van Hove singularity originates from a higher order valence instability at the L-point in the electronic structure. The enhanced density of states at the Fermi level was confirmed by specific heat and susceptibility measurements. Although many Heusler compounds are ferromagnetic, our measurements of ZrNi2Ga indicate a paramagnetic state above Tc and could not reveal any traces of magnetic order down to temperatures of at least 0.35 K. We investigated in detail the superconducting state with specific heat, magnetization, and resistivity measurements. The resulting data show the typical behavior of a conventional, weakly coupled BCS (s-wave) superconductor.
Cava Robert. J.
Fecher Gerhard H.
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