On the Localization of Persistent Currents Due to Trapped Magnetic Flux at the Stacking Faults of Graphite at Room Temperature

Materials 15, 3422 (2022)

R. Ariskina, M. Stiller, Chr.E. Precker, W. Böhlmann, and P.D. Esquinazi

Granular superconductivity at high temperatures in graphite can emerge at certain two-dimensional (2D) stacking faults (SFs) between regions with twisted (around the c-axis) or untwisted crystalline regions with Bernal (ABA. . . ) and/or rhombohedral (ABCABCA. . . ) stacking order. One way to observe experimentally such 2D superconductivity is to measure the frozen magnetic flux produced by a permanent current loop that remains after removing an external magnetic field applied normal to the SFs. Magnetic force microscopy was used to localize and characterize such a permanent current path found in one natural graphite sample out of ∼50 measured graphite samples of different origins. The position of the current path drifts with time and roughly follows a logarithmic time dependence similar to the one for flux creep in type II superconductors. We demonstrate that a ≈10 nm deep scratch on the sample surface at the position of the current path causes a change in its location. A further scratch was enough to irreversibly destroy the remanent state of the sample at room temperature. Our studies clarify some of the reasons for the difficulties of finding a trapped flux in a remanent state at room temperature in graphite samples with SFs.