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XLI Zjazd Fizyków Polskich, Lublin 2011
Heavy-fermion superconductivity – current status and perspective
Dariusz Kaczorowski*
Institute of Low Temperature and Structure Research, Polish Academy of Sciences, Wrocław
Since the spectacular discovery of the phenomenon in 1979, advanced
experimental and theoretical studies on heavy-fermion superconductivity have
continued to be at the very forefront of modern condensed matter physics. This
is due to the special character of the superconducting state, which cannot be
described in terms of the conventional theory of superconductivity, as well as
due to a variety of unusual physical behavior observed in the normal state. The
microscopic nature of all these anomalous phenomena originates from strong
electronic correlations in metallic systems bearing localized magnetic moments.
In recent years, significant progress has been made in understanding the
fundamental mechanisms responsible for the simultaneous presence of
magnetism and superconductivity (by a number of decades considered as
entirely antagonistic). In consequence, the scenarios of competition, coexistence
or sometimes even interplay of the two cooperative phenomena have been
recognized. Nevertheless, a consistent universal theory of the heavy-fermion
superconductivity that might account for all its intriguing aspects is still lacking.
Furthermore, new experimental discoveries in the field often result in
identification of novel scientific challenges.
In my lecture I shall briefly review the basic concepts of the physics of
strongly correlated electron systems with the particular emphasis put on the
formation of heavy-fermion ground states, quantum critical phenomena and
unconventional magnetically-driven superconductivity. A historical overview of
the main discoveries made in the area will be supplemented with our own
results, recently obtained in our laboratories in Wrocław. Finally, an attempt will
be made to address a few most challenging open questions in the relevant field.
*[email protected]