Metastability and Glassy Behavior of a Driven Flux-Line Lattice

W. Henderson and E. Y. Andrei
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey 08855
M. J. Higgins and S. Bhattacharya
NEC Research Institute, 4 Independence Way, Princeton, New Jersey 08540

Strong metastability and history dependence are observed in dc and pulsed transport studies of flux-line lattices in 2H-NbSe2, leading to the identification of two distinct states of the lattice with different spatial ordering. The metastability is most pronounced upon crossing a transition line marked by a large jump in the critical current (the peak effect). Current-induced annealing of the metastable state towards the stable state is observed with a strongly current dependent annealing time, which diverges as a threshold current is approached from above.