Interplay between unconventional superconductivity and heavy-fermion quantum criticality: CeCu2Si2 versus YbRh2Si2

M. Smidman, O. Stockert, J. Arndt, G. M. Pang, L. Jiao, H. Q. Yuan, H. A. Vieyra, S. Kitagawa, K. Ishida, K. Fujiwara, T. C. Kobayashi, E. Schuberth, M. Tippmann, L. Steinke, S. Lausberg, A. Steppke, M. Brando, H. Pfau, U. Stockert, P. SunS. Friedemann, S. Wirth, C. Krellner, S. Kirchner, E. M. Nica, R. Yu, Q. Si, F. Steglich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


In this paper the low-temperature properties of two isostructural canonical heavy-fermion compounds are contrasted with regards to the interplay between antiferromagnetic (AF) quantum criticality and superconductivity. For CeCu2Si2, fully-gapped d-wave superconductivity forms in the vicinity of an itinerant three-dimensional heavy-fermion spin-density-wave (SDW) quantum critical point (QCP). Inelastic neutron scattering results highlight that both quantum critical SDW fluctuations as well as Mott-type fluctuations of local magnetic moments contribute to the formation of Cooper pairs in CeCu2Si2. In YbRh2Si2, superconductivity appears to be suppressed at T ⪆ 10 mK by AF order (TN = 70 mK). Ultra-low temperature measurements reveal a hybrid order between nuclear and 4f-electronic spins, which is dominated by the Yb-derived nuclear spins, to develop at TA slightly above 2 mK. The hybrid order turns out to strongly compete with the primary 4f-electronic order and to push the material towards its QCP. Apparently, this paves the way for heavy-fermion superconductivity to form at Tc = 2 mK. Like the pressure – induced QCP in CeRhIn5, the magnetic field – induced one in YbRh2Si2 is of the local Kondo-destroying variety which corresponds to a Mott-type transition at zero temperature. Therefore, these materials form the link between the large family of about fifty low-T unconventional heavy – fermion superconductors and other families of unconventional superconductors with higher Tcs, notably the doped Mott insulators of the cuprates, organic charge-transfer salts and some of the Fe-based superconductors. Our study suggests that heavy-fermion superconductivity near an AF QCP is a robust phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2930-2963
Number of pages34
JournalPhilosophical Magazine
Issue number32
StatePublished - Nov 12 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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