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      Tunneling microscope maps the melting transition of a two-dimensional vortex lattice

      Physics Today

      AIP Publishing

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          Theory of Two-Dimensional Melting

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            Two-Stage Melting of Paramagnetic Colloidal Crystals in Two Dimensions

             K Zahn,  Roger Lenke,  G Maret (1999)
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              Is Open Access

              Direct observation of melting in a 2-D superconducting vortex lattice

              Topological defects such as dislocations and disclinations are predicted to determine the twodimensional (2-D) melting transition. In 2-D superconducting vortex lattices, macroscopic measurements evidence melting close to the transition to the normal state. However, the direct observation at the scale of individual vortices of the melting sequence has never been performed. Here we provide step by step imaging through scanning tunneling spectroscopy of a 2-D system of vortices up to the melting transition in a focused-ion-beam nanodeposited W-based superconducting thin film. We show directly the transition into an isotropic liquid below the superconducting critical temperature. Before that, we find a hexatic phase, characterized by the appearance of free dislocations, and a smectic-like phase, possibly originated through partial disclination unbinding. These results represent a significant step in the understanding of melting of 2-D systems, with impact across several research fields, such as liquid crystal molecules, or lipids in membranes.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Physics Today
                Physics Today
                AIP Publishing
                0031-9228
                1945-0699
                October 2009
                October 2009
                : 62
                : 10
                : 18
                10.1063/1.3248463
                © 2009

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