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Journal Article

Ni-based superconductor: Heusler compound ZrNi2Ga

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Winterlik, J., Fecher, G. H., Felser, C., Jourdan, M., Grube, K., Hardy, F., et al. (2008). Ni-based superconductor: Heusler compound ZrNi2Ga. Physical Review B, 78(18): 184506, pp. 1-9. doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.78.184506.

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This work reports on the Heusler superconductor ZrNi(2)Ga. Compared to other nickel-based superconductors with Heusler structure, ZrNi2Ga exhibits a relatively high superconducting transition temperature of T(c) = 2.9 K and an upper critical field of mu(0)H(c2) = 1.5 T. Electronic structure calculations show that this relatively high T(c) is caused by a Van Hove singularity, which leads to an enhanced density of states at the Fermi energy N(epsilon(F)). The Van Hove singularity originates from a higher-order valence instability at the L point in the electronic structure. The enhanced N(epsilon(F)) was confirmed by specific-heat and susceptibility measurements. Although many Heusler compounds are ferromagnetic, our measurements of ZrNi2Ga indicate a paramagnetic state above T(c) and could not reveal any traces of magnetic order down to temperatures of at least 0.35 K. We investigated in detail the superconducting state with specific-heat, magnetization, and resistivity measurements. The resulting data show the typical behavior of a conventional weakly coupled BCS (s-wave) superconductor.