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Physics  2007 

Unconventional superconducting pairing by conventional phonons

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.77.094502

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The common wisdom that the phonon mechanism of electron pairing in the weak-coupling Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer (BCS) superconductors leads to conventional s-wave Cooper pairs is revised. An inevitable anisotropy of sound velocity in crystals makes the phonon-mediated attraction of electrons non-local in space providing unconventional Cooper pairs with a nonzero orbital momentum in a wide range of electron densities. As a result of this anisotropy quasi-two dimensional charge carriers undergo a quantum phase transition from an unconventional d-wave superconducting state to a conventional s-wave superconductor with more carriers per unit cell. In the opposite strong-coupling regime rotational symmetry breaking appears as a result of a reduced Coulomb repulsion between unconventional bipolarons dismissing thereby some constraints on unconventional pairing in the Bose-Einstein condensation (BEC) limit. The conventional phonons, and not superexchange, are shown to be responsible for the d-wave symmetry of cuprate superconductors, where the on-site Coulomb repulsion is large.


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