Song, Kok Wee; Koshelev, Alexei
We investigate the influence of Landau quantization on the superconducting instability for a pure layered superconductor in the magnetic field directed perpendicular to the layers. We demonstrate that the quantization corrections to the Cooper-pairing kernel with finite Zeeman spin splitting promote the formation of the nonuniform state in which the order parameter is periodically modulated along the magnetic field, i.e., between the layers (Fulde-Ferrell-Larkin-Ovchinnikov [FFLO] state). The conventional uniform state experiences such a quantization-induced FFLO instability at low temperatures even in a common case of predominantly orbital suppression of superconductivity when the Zeeman spin splitting is expected to have a relatively weak effect. The maximum relative FFLO temperature is given by the ratio of the superconducting transition temperature and the Fermi energy. This maximum is realized when the ratio of the spin-spitting energy and the Landau-level separation is half-integer. These results imply that the FFLO states may exist not only in the Pauli-limited superconductors but also in very clean materials with small Zeeman spin-splitting energy. We expect that the described quantization-promoted FFLO instability is a general phenomenon, which may be found in materials with different electronic spectra and order-parameter symmetries.