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Foundations of heavy-fermion superconductivity: lattice Kondo effect and Mott physics

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Steglich,  Frank
Frank Steglich, Physics of Quantum Materials, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids, Max Planck Society;

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Wirth,  Steffen
Steffen Wirth, Physics of Correlated Matter, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Steglich, F., & Wirth, S. (2016). Foundations of heavy-fermion superconductivity: lattice Kondo effect and Mott physics. Reports on Progress in Physics, 79(8): 084502, pp. 1-22. doi:10.1088/0034-4885/79/8/084502.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002B-A01D-A
Abstract
This article overviews the development of heavy-fermion superconductivity, notably in such rare-earth-based intermetallic compounds which behave as Kondo-lattice systems. Heavy-fermion superconductivity is of unconventional nature in the sense that it is not mediated by electron-phonon coupling. Rather, in most cases the attractive interaction between charge carriers is apparently magnetic in origin. Fluctuations associated with an antiferromagnetic (AF) quantum critical point (QCP) play a major role. The first heavy-fermion superconductor CeCu2Si2 turned out to be the prototype of a larger group of materials for which the underlying, often pressure-induced, AF QCP is likely to be of a three-dimensional (3D) spin-density-wave (SDW) variety. For UBe13, the second heavy-fermion superconductor, a magnetic-field-induced 3D SDW QCP inside the superconducting phase can be conjectured. Such a 'conventional', itinerant QCP can be well understood within Landau's paradigm of order-parameter fluctuations. In contrast, the low-temperature normal-state properties of a few heavy-fermion superconductors are at odds with the Landau framework. They are characterized by an 'unconventional', local QCP which may be considered a zero-temperature 4 f-orbital selective Mott transition. Here, as concluded for YbRh2Si2, the breakdown of the Kondo effect concurring with the AF instability gives rise to an abrupt change of the Fermi surface. Very recently, superconductivity was discovered for this compound at ultra-low temperatures. Therefore, YbRh2Si2 along with CeRhIn5 under pressure provide a natural link between the large group of about fifty low-temperature heavy-fermion superconductors and other families of unconventional superconductors with substantially higher T-c, e.g. the doped Mott insulators of the perovskite-type cuprates and the organic charge-transfer salts.