Visualizing heavy fermion formation and their unconventional superconductivity in f-electron materials

Pegor Aynajian, Eduardo H. Da Silva Neto, Brian B. Zhou, Shashank Misra, Ryan E. Baumbach, Zachary Fisk, John Mydosh, Joe D. Thompson, Eric D. Bauer, Ali Yazdani

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Abstract

In solids containing elements with f-orbitals, the interaction between f-electron spins and those of itinerant electrons leads to the development of low-energy fermionic excitations with a heavy effective mass. These excitations are fundamental to the appearance of unconventional superconductivity observed in actinide- and lanthanide-based compounds. We use spectroscopic mapping with the scanning tunneling microscope to detect the emergence of heavy excitations with lowering of temperature in Ce- and U-based heavy fermion compounds. We demonstrate the sensitivity of the tunneling process to the composite nature of these heavy quasiparticles, which arises from quantum entanglement of itinerant conduction and f-electrons. Scattering and interference of the composite quasiparticles is used in the Cebased compounds to resolve their energy-momentum structure and to extract their mass enhancement, which develops with decreasing temperature. Finally, by extending these techniques to much lower temperatures, we investigate how superconductivity, with a nodal d-wave character, develops within a strongly correlated band of composite excitations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number061008
JournalJournal of the Physical Society of Japan
Volume83
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 15 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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    Aynajian, P., Da Silva Neto, E. H., Zhou, B. B., Misra, S., Baumbach, R. E., Fisk, Z., Mydosh, J., Thompson, J. D., Bauer, E. D., & Yazdani, A. (2014). Visualizing heavy fermion formation and their unconventional superconductivity in f-electron materials. Journal of the Physical Society of Japan, 83(6), [061008]. https://doi.org/10.7566/JPSJ.83.061008