Local magnetic measurements are used to quantitatively characterize heterogeneity and flux line pinning in PrFeAsO1-y and NdFeAs(O,F) superconducting single crystals. In spite of spatial fluctuations of the critical current density on the macroscopic scale, it is shown that the major contribution comes from collective pinning of vortex lines by microscopic defects by the mean-free-path fluctuation mechanism. The defect density extracted from experiment corresponds to the dopant atom density, which means that dopant atoms play an important role both in vortex pinning and in quasiparticle scattering. In the studied underdoped PrFeAsO1-y and NdFeAs(O,F) crystals, there is a background of strong pinning, which we attribute to spatial variations in the dopant atom density on the scale of a few dozen to 100 nm. These variations do not go beyond 5%-we therefore do not find any evidence for coexistence of the superconducting and the antiferromagnetic phase. The critical current density in sub-tesla fields is characterized by the presence of a peak effect, the location of which in the (B,T) plane is consistent with an order-disorder transition of the vortex lattice.
|Journal||Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics|
|Publication status||Published - 2010 May 19|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics