The growing fascination with unconventional pairing is driven in part by continuing discoveries of exotic superconductors. The first of these, superfluid 3He, was found by Osheroff, Richardson, and Lee in 1971. This was followed soon thereafter by superconductivity in the heavy fermion compound, UPt3. And then an explosion of interest accompanied the observation of superconductivity in cuprates, Sr2RuO4, and organic materials. The newest discoveries are sperconducting compounds of FeAs. These systems have been demonstrated (or in some cases it is just suspected) that they have pairing condensates with non-zero angular momentum, L= 1, 2, and even 3. But all of them have the common hallmark of a high degree of sensitivity to impurities. In this talk I will discuss impurity effects in the best known of these unconventionally paired systems, 3He, a paradigm for the other unconventional superconductors. Impurity scattering is deftly controlled in superfluid 3He by imbibing it into high porosity silica aerogel. We can understand the suppression of its superfluid state (the transition temperature), the effect on its order parameter (the pairing energy), the appearance of quasiparticle bound states (gaplessness), and possibly new phases, in the context of current theory. I will discuss experiments from many laboratories and their theoretical interpretation leading to the topical question of the day, “Can anisotropic scattering stabilize new anisotropic states?”


Talk Number PIRSA:09040026
Speaker Profile Bill Halperin