Dislocation loops and bond-orientational order in the Abrikosov flux-line lattice

M. Cristina Marchetti, David R. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations


An Abrikosov flux-line lattice with an equilibrium concentration of unbound dislocation loops is considered as a way to describe the entangled flux liquid that arises in high-Tc superconductors. The long-wavelength properties of this dislocation loop gas are discussed using continuum elastic theory. We show explicitly that edge dislocations drive the long-wavelength shear modulus to zero, i.e., melt the lattice, analogous to what happens in two dimensions. Dislocations do not, however, destroy the sixfold long-range orientational order of the crystal in the xy plane. The flux-line lattice with dislocations is therefore a hexatic liquid crystal of lines rather than an isotropic liquid. The expected signature of an entangled hexatic liquid from neutron diffraction is discussed. Long-range orientational order relaxes in the z direction with a correlation length due to flux-line entanglement mediated by screw dislocations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1910-1920
Number of pages11
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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