Experimental observation of lattice distortions due to a flux line lattice in niobium

A polarized neutron scattering investigation of the flux line lattice in the type-II superconductor niobium is reported. A modulation of the nuclear lattice has been detected, and the magnitude of the rst Fourier component of the lattice distortion established relative to the magnitude of the magnetic scattering. This constitutes the rst experimental observation of lattice distortions due to the presence of magnetic flux lines within the bulk of a type-II superconductor. Using a simple microscopic model the lattice distortion in niobium is estimated. A new mechanism is suggested for the coupling of the flux line lattice to the crystallographic lattice. The experimental technique opens up the possibility of investigating the microscopic mechanism of flux line - nuclear lattice interactions, in particular the pinning of flux lines within the bulk of a type-II superconductor.

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