Spectral properties of superconductors with ferromagnetically ordered magnetic impurities
Journal article, 2015
We present a comprehensive theoretical study of thermodynamic properties of superconductors with a dilute concentration of magnetic impurities, with focus on how the properties of the superconducting host change if the magnetic moments of the impurities order ferromagnetically. Scattering off the magnetic impurities leads to the formation of a band of Yu-Shiba-Rusinov states within the superconducting energy gap that drastically influences superconductivity. In the magnetically ordered system, the magnetization displays a sudden drop as a function of the impurity density or magnetic moment amplitude. The drop occurs as the spin-polarized impurity band crosses the Fermi level and is associated with a quantum phase transition first put forward by Sakurai for the single impurity case. Taking into account that the background magnetic field created by the ordered impurity moments enters as a Zeeman shift, we find that the superconducting phase transition changes from second order to first order for high enough impurity concentrations.