What Symmetry is Broken in the Superconductor-Normal Phase Transition?

A. Kovner*, Baruch Rosenstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


We show that the superconducting-normal phase transition is due to spontaneous breaking of magnetic flux symmetry. In two dimensions the symmetry generator is Φ = ∫d 2 xB(x) and in three dimensions there are three generators Φ 1 = ∫d 3 xB 1 (x), only two of which are independent due to the absence of sources of magnetic field, In the normal phase the symmetry is spontaneously broken with a massless photon as a corresponding Goldstone boson. In the superconducting phase the symmetry is unbroken and the magnetic flux annihilates the vacuum which expresses the essence of the Meissner effect. In two dimensions we explicitly construct the pertinent gauge-invariant order parameter which is the operator creating Abrikosov vortices. Its vacuum expectation value vanishes in the superconducting ground state, while it is finite in the vacuum of the normal phase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2903-2914
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
Issue number11
StatePublished - 16 Mar 1992

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