The notion of spectral flow has given new insight into the motion of vortices in superfluids and superconductors. For a BCS superconductor the spectrum of low energy vortex core states is largely determined by the geometric optics limit of Andreev reflection. We use this to follow the evolution of the states when a stationary vortex is immersed in a transport supercurrent. If the core spectrum were continuous, spectral flow would convert the momentum flowing into the core via the Magnus effect into unbound quasiparticles—thus allowing the vortex to remain stationary without a pinning potential or other sink for the inflowing momentum. The discrete nature of the states, however, leads to Bloch oscillations which thwart the spectral flow. The momentum can escape only via relaxation processes. Taking these into account permits a physically transparent derivation of the mutual friction coefficients.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics|
|State||Published - 1996|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics