Understanding the origin of superconductivity in strongly correlated electron systems continues to be at the forefront of the unsolved problems of physics. Among the heavy f-electron systems, CeCoIn 5 is one of the most fascinating, as it shares many of the characteristics of correlated d-electron high- T c cuprate and pnictide superconductors, including competition between antiferromagnetism and superconductivity. Although there has been evidence for unconventional pairing in this compound, high-resolution spectroscopic measurements of the superconducting state have been lacking. Previously, we have used high-resolution scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) techniques to visualize the emergence of heavy fermion excitations in CeCoIn 5 and demonstrate the composite nature of these excitations well above T c Ref.). Here we extend these techniques to much lower temperatures to investigate how superconductivity develops within a strongly correlated band of composite excitations. We find the spectrum of heavy excitations to be strongly modified just before the onset of superconductivity by a suppression of the spectral weight near the Fermi energy (E F), reminiscent of the pseudogap state in the cuprates. By measuring the response of superconductivity to various perturbations, through both quasiparticle interference (QPI) and local pair-breaking experiments, we demonstrate the nodal d-wave character of superconducting pairing in CeCoIn 5.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)