We report observation of hexatic order in Abrikosov flux lattices in very clean crystals of the high-Tc superconductor Bi2.1Sr1.9Ca0.9Cu2O8+δ (BSCCO). Our experiments consist of in situ magnetic decoration of the flux lattice at 4.2 K. Analysis of the decoration images shows that the positional order decays exponentially with a correlation length of a few lattice constants while the orientational order persists for hundreds of lattice constants and decays algebraically with an exponent η6 = 0.6 ± 0.01. Our results confirm recent theoretical speculation that the positional order should be far more sensitive to disorder than the orientational order and that the low-temperature ordered phase of the flux lines in these systems might be an hexatic glass.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering