Phonon-mediated superconductivity in low carrier-density systems

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Motivated by the observation of superconductivity in SrTiO3 and Bi, we analyze phonon-mediated superconductivity in three-dimensional systems at low carrier density, when the chemical potential μ is comparable to or even smaller than the characteristic phonon frequency ωL. We consider the attractive part of the Bardeen-Pines pairing interaction, in which the frequency-dependent electron-phonon interaction is dressed by the Coulomb potential. This dressing endows the pairing interaction with momentum dependence. We argue that the conventional Migdal-Eliashberg approximation becomes invalid when μ≤ωL, chiefly because the dominant contribution to pairing comes from electronic states away from the Fermi surface. We obtain the pairing onset temperature, which is equal to Tc in the absence of phase fluctuations, as a function of μ/ωL. We find both analytically and numerically that Tc increases as the ratio μ/ωL becomes smaller. In particular, in the dilute regime, μ→0, it holds that TcωL(RyωL)η, where Ry is the Rydberg constant and η∼0.2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number094524
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number9
StatePublished - Mar 29 2019

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