Direct observation of quantum superconducting fluctuations in an insulating groundstate

Armitage, N. P.
Crane, R.
Sambandamurthy, G.
Johansson, A.
Shahar, D.
Gruner, G.
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We review our recent measurements of the complex AC conductivity of thin InO_x films studied as a function of magnetic field through the nominal 2D superconductor-insulator transition. These measurements - the first of their type to probe nonzero frequency - reveals a significant finite frequency superfluid stiffness well into the insulating regime. Unlike conventional fluctuation superconductivity in which thermal fluctuations give a superconducting response in regions of parameter space that don't exhibit long range order, these fluctuations are temperature independent as T --> 0 and are exhibited in samples where the resistance is large (greater than 10^6 Ohms/Square) and strongly diverging. We interpret this as the direct observation of quantum superconducting fluctuations around an insulating ground state. This system serves as a prototype for other insulating states of matter that derive from superconductors.
Comment: Submitted to the proceedings of SCES07
Condensed Matter - Superconductivity, Condensed Matter - Disordered Systems and Neural Networks