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Proceedings Paper

Suppressed Andreev reflection at the normal-metal/heavy-fermion superconductor CeCoIn5 interface
Author(s): Wan Kyu Park; Laura H. Greene; John L. Sarrao; Joe D. Thompson
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Paper Abstract

In order to probe the order parameter symmetry of the heavy-fermion superconductor (HFS) CeCoIn5, we employ point-contact spectroscopy, where dynamic conductance spectra are taken from a nano-scale junction between a normal-metal (N) Au tip and a single crystal of CeCoIn5. The point-contact junction (PCJ) is formed on a single crystal surface with two crystallographic orientations, (001) and (110). Our conductance spectra, reproducibly obtained over wide ranges of temperature, constitute the cleanest data sets ever reported for HFSs. The point contacts are shown to be in the Sharvin limit, ensuring spectroscopic nature of the measured data. A signature for the emerging heavy-fermion liquid is evidenced by the development of the asymmetry in the background conductance, starting at T* (~ 45 K) and increasing with decreasing temperature down to Tc (2.3 K). Below Tc, an enhancement of the sub-gap conductance arising from Andreev reflection is observed, with the magnitude of ~ 13.3% and ~ 11.8% for the (001) and the (110) PCJ, respectively. These values are an order of magnitude smaller than those observed in conventional superconductors, but consistent with those in other HFSs. Our zero-bias conductance data for the (001) PCJ are best fit with the extended Blonder-Tinkham-Klapwijk model using the d-wave order parameter. The fit to the full conductance curve of the (001) PCJ at 400 mK indicates the strong coupling nature (2Δ/kBTc = 4.64). However, our observed suppression of both the Andreev reflection signal and the energy gap indicates the failure of existing models. We provide possible directions for theoretical formulations of the electronic transport across an N/HFS interface in general, and the Au/CeCoIn5 interface in particular. Several qualitative features observed in the (110) PCJ provide the first clear spectroscopic evidence for the dx2-y2 symmetry of the superconducting order parameter in CeCoIn5.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 August 2005
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 5932, Strongly Correlated Electron Materials: Physics and Nanoengineering, 59321Q (30 August 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.622251
Show Author Affiliations
Wan Kyu Park, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (United States)
Laura H. Greene, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (United States)
John L. Sarrao, Los Alamos National Lab. (United States)
Joe D. Thompson, Los Alamos National Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5932:
Strongly Correlated Electron Materials: Physics and Nanoengineering
Ivan Bozovic; Davor Pavuna, Editor(s)

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