Enhancement of the finite-frequency superfluid response in the pseudogap regime of strongly disordered superconducting films
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The persistence of a soft gap in the density of states above the superconducting transition temperature Tc, the pseudogap, has long been thought to be a hallmark of unconventional high-temperature superconductors. However, in the last few years this paradigm has been strongly revised by increasing experimental evidence for the emergence of a pseudogap state in strongly-disordered conventional superconductors. Nonetheless, the nature of this state, probed primarily through scanning tunneling spectroscopy (STS) measurements, remains partly elusive. Here we show that the dynamic response above Tc, obtained from the complex ac conductivity, is highly modified in the pseudogap regime of strongly disordered NbN films. Below the pseudogap temperature, T*, the superfluid stiffness acquires a strong frequency dependence associated with a marked slowing down of critical fluctuations. When translated into the length-scale of fluctuations, our results suggest a scenario of thermal phase fluctuations between superconducting domains in a strongly disordered s-wave superconductor.