Vortex Interactions and Clustering in Thin Superconductors
Cluster formation is a focus of interdisciplinary research in both chemistry and physics. Here we discuss the exotic example of this phenomenon in the vortex matter of a thin superconductor. In superconducting films, the clustering takes place because of particular properties of the vortex interactions in the crossover or intertype regime between superconductivity types I and II. These interactions are controlled by the two parameters that are responsible for the crossover, Ginzburg−Landau parameter κ, which specifies the superconducting material of the film, and film thickness d, which controls effects due to stray magnetic fields outside the sample. We demonstrate that their competition gives rise to a complex spatial dependence of the interaction potential between vortices, favoring the formation of chainlike vortex clusters.