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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


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
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 15 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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