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# d-wave superconductive gap and related observables of PuCoGa5

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## Abstract

The real-axis formulation of the Eliashberg theory has been applied to PuCoGa5, assuming d-wave symmetry and phonon-mediated pairing. Here, we present the calculated temperature dependence of the superconductive gap Δ(T) for a freshly prepared sample, and the variation of Δ(T = 2 K) with increasing impurity scattering rate. We also present the calculated energy dependence of the quasiparticle density of state, together with the corresponding normalized tunnelling conductance at T = 4 K. These quantities could be compared with future tunnelling experiments that would also lead to a direct determination of the spectral density function. Finally, we show that the normal phase resistivity can be well reproduced up to room temperature assuming electron–phonon scattering within a two-band model.

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... PuCoGa 5 is a prototypical heavy-fermion compound that becomes a superconductor below T c ≃ 18.5 K [1], the highest critical temperature of any heavy-fermion material. Fifteen years on its discovery, the nature of the pairing boson in PuCoGa 5 remains an open question. Superconductivity (SC) mediated by spin fluctuations (SFs) associated with the proximity to an antiferromagnetic (AFM) quantum critical point (QCP) was initially proposed. ...
... Subsequent point-contact spectroscopy measurements confirmed that the wavefunction of the paired electrons has an unconventional d-wave symmetry [3]. However, the SF conjecture was questioned [4,5] after polarized neutron diffraction failed to observe a local magnetic moment in the normal state of PuCoGa 5 [6], pointing to an extrinsic origin of the reported temperature dependent χ m . This observation is confirmed in the present article by showing that the magnetic susceptibility of an almost defect-free PuCoGa 5 single crystal is weak and temperature-independent from T c up to room temperature. ...
Article
We have measured X-ray magnetic circular dichroism (XMCD) spectra at the Pu $M_{4,5}$ absorption edges from a newly-prepared high-quality single crystal of the heavy fermion superconductor $^{242}$PuCoGa$_{5}$, exhibiting a critical temperature $T_{c} = 18.7~{\rm K}$. The experiment probes the vortex phase below $T_{c}$ and shows that an external magnetic field induces a Pu 5$f$ magnetic moment at 2 K equal to the temperature-independent moment measured in the normal phase up to 300 K by a SQUID device. This observation is in agreement with theoretical models claiming that the Pu atoms in PuCoGa$_{5}$ have a nonmagnetic singlet ground state resulting from the hybridization of the conduction electrons with the intermediate-valence 5$f$ electronic shell. Unexpectedly, XMCD spectra show that the orbital component of the $5f$ magnetic moment increases significantly between 30 and 2 K; the antiparallel spin component increases as well, leaving the total moment practically constant. We suggest that this indicates a low-temperature breakdown of the complete Kondo-like screening of the local 5$f$ moment.
... Nevertheless, phonon-mediated superconductivity cannot be definitely ruled out in PuCoGa 5 [197]. It is unlikely to occur, considering, e.g., the "too high" critical temperature [198] or the fact that its U analogue UCoGa 5 is not superconducting, despite a phonon spectrum very similar to that of PuCoGa 5 [199]. ...
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Plutonium is a metal of both technological relevance and fundamental scientific interest. Nevertheless, the electronic structure of plutonium, which directly influences its metallurgical properties, is poorly understood. For example, plutonium's 5f electrons are poised on the border between localized and itinerant, and their theoretical treatment pushes the limits of current electronic structure calculations. Here we extend the range of complexity exhibited by plutonium with the discovery of superconductivity in PuCoGa5. We argue that the observed superconductivity results directly from plutonium's anomalous electronic properties and as such serves as a bridge between two classes of spin-fluctuation-mediated superconductors: the known heavy-fermion superconductors and the high-T(c) copper oxides. We suggest that the mechanism of superconductivity is unconventional; seen in that context, the fact that the transition temperature, T(c) approximately 18.5 K, is an order of magnitude greater than the maximum seen in the U- and Ce-based heavy-fermion systems may be natural. The large critical current displayed by PuCoGa5, which comes from radiation-induced self damage that creates pinning centres, would be of technological importance for applied superconductivity if the hazardous material plutonium were not a constituent.
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The idea of superconductivity without the mediating role of lattice vibrations (phonons) has a long history. It was realized soon after the publication of the Bardeen–Cooper–Schrieffer (BCS) theory of superconductivity 50 years ago that a full treatment of both the charge and spin degrees of freedom of the electron predicts the existence of attractive components of the effective interaction between electrons even in the absence of lattice vibrations— a particular example is the effective interaction that depends on the relative spins of the electrons. Such attraction without phonons can lead to electronic pairing and to unconventional forms of superconductivity that can be much more sensitive than traditional (BCS) superconductivity to the precise details of the crystal structure and to the electronic and magnetic properties of a material.
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