Competition between electron pairing and phase coherence in superconducting interfaces

by G. Singh, A. Jouan, L. Benfatto, F. Couëdo, P. Kumar, A. Dogra, R.C. Budhani, S. Caprara, M. Grilli, E. Lesne, A. Barthélémy, M. Bibes, C. Feuillet-Palma, J. Lesueur & N. Bergeal

In LaAlO3/SrTiO3 heterostructures, a gate tunable superconducting electron gas is confined in a quantum well at the interface between two insulating oxides. Remarkably, the gas coexists with both magnetism and strong Rashba spin–orbit coupling. However, both the origin of superconductivity and the nature of the transition to the normal state over the whole doping range remain elusive. Here we use resonant microwave transport to extract the superfluid stiffness and the superconducting gap energy of the LaAlO3/SrTiO3 interface as a function of carrier density. We show that the superconducting phase diagram of this system is controlled by the competition between electron pairing and phase coherence. The analysis of the superfluid density reveals that only a very small fraction of the electrons condenses into the superconducting state. We propose that this corresponds to the weak filling of high energy dxz/dyz bands in the quantum well, more apt to host superconductivity.

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