Van der Waals-Zeeman Colloquium

Tuesday, 2 Dec 2008, 16:00h

Superconductivity without phonons

Dr. Philippe Monthoux
Center for Science at Extreme Conditions, University of Edinburgh,

Superconductivity, the dissipationless flow of electric current, is the manifestation of a subtle form of quantum rigidity on the macroscopic scale. The major achievement of Bardeen, Cooper and Schrieffer was to identify the fundamental organizing principle responsible for superconductivity, an effective attraction between electrons. In conventional superconductors (for example Al, Pb and Hg), this effective attraction is mediated by lattice vibrations, i.e phonons. In this talk, I explore the possibility that the effective (i.e screened) Coulomb interaction between electrons can provide the attraction. The large energy scales involved relative to the phonon case offer the possibility of much higher superconducting transition temperatures.