Fractal superconductivity near localization threshold

M. V. Feigel'man, L. B. Ioffe, V. E. Kravtsov, E. Cuevas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations

Abstract

We develop a semi-quantitative theory of electron pairing and resulting superconductivity in bulk "poor conductors" in which Fermi energy EF is located in the region of localized states not so far from the Anderson mobility edge Ec. We assume attractive interaction between electrons near the Fermi surface. We review the existing theories and experimental data and argue that a large class of disordered films is described by this model. Our theoretical analysis is based on analytical treatment of pairing correlations, described in the basis of the exact single-particle eigenstates of the 3D Anderson model, which we combine with numerical data on eigenfunction correlations. Fractal nature of critical wavefunction's correlations is shown to be crucial for the physics of these systems. We identify three distinct phases: 'critical' superconductive state formed at EF=Ec, superconducting state with a strong pseudo-gap, realized due to pairing of weakly localized electrons and insulating state realized at EF still deeper inside a localized band. The 'critical' superconducting phase is characterized by the enhancement of the transition temperature with respect to BCS result, by the inhomogeneous spatial distribution of superconductive order parameter and local density of states. The major new feature of the pseudo-gapped state is the presence of two independent energy scales: superconducting gapΔ, that is due to many-body correlations and a new "pseudo-gap" energy scale ΔP which characterizes typical binding energy of localized electron pairs and leads to the insulating behavior of the resistivity as a function of temperature above superconductive Tc. Two gap nature of the pseudo-gapped superconductor is shown to lead to specific features seen in scanning tunneling spectroscopy and point-contact Andreev spectroscopy. We predict that pseudo-gapped superconducting state demonstrates anomalous behavior of the optical spectral weight. The insulating state is realized due to the presence of local pairing gap but without superconducting correlations; it is characterized by a hard insulating gap in the density of single electrons and by purely activated low-temperature resistivity ln R(T)~1/T. Based on these results we propose a new "pseudo-spin" scenario of superconductor-insulator transition and argue that it is realized in a particular class of disordered superconducting films. We conclude by the discussion of the experimental predictions of the theory and the theoretical issues that remain unsolved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1390-1478
Number of pages89
JournalAnnals of Physics
Volume325
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Keywords

  • Disorder superconductor-insulator transition
  • Localization
  • Superconductivity

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