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Grain boundaries in vortex matter
Moretti, Paolo; Miguel López, María del Carmen; Zapperi, Stefano
Universitat de Barcelona
We explore the statistical properties of grain boundaries in the vortex polycrystalline phase of type-II superconductors. Treating grain boundaries as arrays of dislocations interacting through linear elasticity, we show that self-interaction of a deformed grain boundary is equivalent to a nonlocal long-range surface tension. This affects the pinning properties of grain boundaries, which are found to be less rough than isolated dislocations. The presence of grain boundaries has an important effect on the transport properties of type-II superconductors as we show by numerical simulations: our results indicate that the critical current is higher for a vortex polycrystal than for a regular vortex lattice. Finally, we discuss the possible role of grain boundaries in vortex lattice melting. Through a phenomenological theory we show that melting can be preceded by an intermediate polycrystalline phase.
(c) The American Physical Society, 2005
The American Physical Society

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