CMSA Strongly Correlated Quantum Materials and High-Temperature Superconductors Series: Interplay between superconductivity and non-Fermi liquid at a quantum critical point in a metal


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December 2, 2020 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
via Zoom Video Conferencing

Andrey V Chubukov - University of Minnesota

I discuss the interplay between non-Fermi liquid behaviour and pairing near a quantum-critical point (QCP) in a metal. These tendencies are intertwined in the sense that both originate from the same interaction mediated by gapless fluctuations of a critical order parameter. The two tendencies compete because fermionic incoherence destroys the Cooper logarithm, while the pairing eliminates scattering at low energies and restores fermionic coherence. I discuss this physics for a class of models with an effective dynamical interaction V (Ω) ~1/|Ω|^γ (the γ-model). This model describes, in particular, the pairing at a 2D Ising-nematic critical point in (γ=1/3), a 2D antiferromagnetic critical point (γ=1/2) and the pairing by an Einstein phonon with vanishing dressed Debye frequency (γ=2). I argue the pairing wins, unless the pairing component of the interaction is artificially reduced, but because of fermionic incoherence in the normal state, the system develops a pseudogap, preformed pairs behaviour in the temperature range between the onset of the pairing at Tp and the onset of phase coherence at the actual superconducting Tc. The ratio Tc/Tp decreases with γ and vanishes at γ =2. I present two complementary arguments of why this happens. One is the softening of longitudinal gap fluctuations, which become gapless at γ =2. Another is the emergence of a 1D array of dynamical vortices, whose number diverges at γ =2. I argue that once the number of vortices becomes infinite, quasiparticle energies effectively get quantized and do not get re-arranged in the presence of a small phase variation. I show that a new non-superconducting ground state emerges at γ >2.