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Unconventional superconductor

Unconventional superconductors are materials that display superconductivity but that do not conform to BCS theory and Nikolay Bogolyubov theory or its extensions.

The first unconventional triplet superconductor, organic material (TMTSF)2PF6, was discovered by Denis Jerome and Klaus Bechgaard in 1979 [1]. Recent experimental works by Paul Chaikin's and Michael Naughton's groups as well as theoretical analysis of their data by Andrei Lebed have firmly confirmed unconventional triplet nature of superconducting pairing in (TMTSF)2X (X=PF6, ClO4, ...) organic materials. [2] The first unconventional singlet d-wave superconductor was discovered by J.G. Bednorz and K.A. Müller in 1986. It was a Lanthanum-based cuprate perovskite material with critical temperature of approximately 35 K (-238 degrees Celsius). This was well above the highest critical temperature known at the time (Tc=23 K) and thus the new family of materials were called high-temperature superconductors. Bednorz and Müller received the Nobel prize for Physics for this discovery in 1987.

Since then, many other high-temperature superconductors have been synthesized. As early as 1987, superconductivity above 77 K, the boiling point of nitrogen, was achieved. This is highly significant from the point of view of the technological applications of superconductivity, because liquid nitrogen is far less expensive than liquid helium, which is required to cool conventional superconductors down to their critical temperature. The current record critical temperature is about Tc=133 K (-140 °C) at room pressure, and somewhat higher critical temperatures can be achieved at high pressure. Nevertheless at present it is considered unlikely that cuprate perovskite materials will achieve room-temperature superconductivity.

On the other hand, in recent years other unconventional superconductors have been discovered. These include some that do not superconduct at high temperatures, such as the strontium-ruthenate oxide compounds, but that, like the high-temperature superconductors, are unconventional in other ways (for example, the origin of the attractive force leading to the formation of Cooper pairs may be different from the one postulated in BCS theory). In addition to this, superconductors that have unusually high values of Tc but that are not cuprate perovskites have been discovered. Some of them may be extreme examples of conventional superconductors (this is suspected of magnesium diboride, MgB2, with Tc=39 K). Others display more unconventional features.


  1. ^ D. Jérome, A. Mazaud, M. Ribault, K. Bechgaard, Superconductivity in a synthetic organic conductor: (TMTSF)2PF6], J. Phys. Lett. (Paris) 41, L95 (1980).
  2. ^ K. Bechgaard, K. Carneiro, M. Olsen, F. Rasmussen and C.S. Jacobsen, Zero-pressure organic superconductor: di-(tetramethyltetraselenafulvalenium)-perchlorate [(TMTSF)2ClO4], Phys. Rev. Lett. 46, 852 (1981).

Related links

  • High-temperature superconductor
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Unconventional_superconductor". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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