Pair breaking in multi-orbital superconductors: an application to oxide interfaces

Research paper by Mathias S. Scheurer, Mareike Hoyer, Jörg Schmalian

Indexed on: 19 May '15Published on: 19 May '15Published in: Physics - Superconductivity


We investigate the impact of impurity scattering on superconductivity in an anisotropic multi-orbital model with spin-orbit coupling which describes the electron fluid at two-dimensional oxide interfaces. As the pairing mechanism is under debate, both conventional and unconventional superconducting states are analyzed. We consider magnetic and nonmagnetic spin-dependent intra- and interorbital scattering and discuss possible microscopic realizations leading to these processes. It is found that, for magnetic disorder, the unconventional superconductor is protected against interband scattering and, thus, more robust than the conventional condensate. In case of nonmagnetic impurities, the conventional superconductor is protected as expected from the Anderson theorem and the critical scattering rate of the unconventional state is enhanced by a factor of four due to the spin-orbit coupling and anisotropic masses in oxide interfaces.