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We report the nonequilibrium behavior of disordered superconducting Al films in high Zeeman fields. We have measured the tunneling density of states of the films through the first-order Zeeman critical field transition. We find that films with sheet resistances of a few hundred ohms exhibit large avalanchelike collapses of the condensate on the superheating branch of the critical field hysteresis loop. In contrast, the transition back into the superconducting phase (i.e., along the supercooling branch) is always continuous. The fact that the condensate follows an unstable trajectory to the normal state suggests that the order parameter in the hysteretic regime is not homogeneous.

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Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics