Abstract:
The chiral phase transition at finite temperature is investigated in the linear sigma model, which is regarded as a low energy effective theory of QCD with three momentum cutoff, in the variational method with the Gaussian approximation in the functional Schroedinger picture. It is shown that the Goldstone theorem is retained and the meson pair excitations are automatically included by taking into account the linear response to the external fields. It is pointed out that the behavior of chiral phase transition depends on the three-momentum cutoff, which leads to the careful treatment of the problem.

Abstract:
The Fulde-Ferrell-Larkin-Ovchinnikov (FFLO) state is a novel superconducting state in a strong magnetic field characterized by the formation of Cooper pairs with nonzero total momentum (k \uparrow, -k+q \downarrow), instead of the ordinary BCS pairs (k \uparrow, -k \downarrow). A fascinating aspect of the FFLO state is that it exhibits inhomogeneous superconducting phases with a spatially oscillating order parameter and spin polarization. The FFLO state has been of interest in various research fields, not only in superconductors in solid state physics, but also in neutral Fermion superfluid of ultracold atomic gases and in color superconductivity in high energy physics. In spite of extensive studies of various superconductors, there has been no undisputed experimental verification of the FFLO state, mainly because of the very stringent conditions required of the superconducting materials. Among several classes of materials, certain heavy fermion and organic superconductors are believed to provide conditions that are favorable to the formation of the FFLO state. This review presents recent experimental and theoretical developments of the FFLO state mainly in heavy fermion superconductors. In particular we address the recently discovered quasi-two-dimensional superconductor CeCoIn_5, which is a strong candidate for the formation of the FFLO state.

Abstract:
The chiral phase transition at finite temperature is investigated in the linear sigma model, which is regarded as a low energy effective theory of QCD with three momentum cutoff, in the variational method with the Gaussian approximation in the functional Schroedinger picture. It is shown that the Goldstone theorem is retained and the meson pair excitations are automatically included by taking into account the linear response to the external fields. It is pointed out that the behavior of chiral phase transition depends on the three-momentum cutoff, which leads to the careful treatment of the problem.

Abstract:
Despite more than a quarter century of research, the nature of the second-order phase transition in the heavy-fermion metal URu$_2$Si$_2$ remains enigmatic. The key question is which symmetry is being broken below this "hidden order" transition. We review the recent progress on this issue, particularly focusing on the thermodynamic evidence from very sensitive micro-cantilever magnetic torque measurements that the fourfold rotational symmetry of the underlying tetragonal crystal is broken. The angle dependence of the torque under in-plane field rotation exhibits the twofold oscillation term, which sets in just below the transition temperature. This observation restricts the symmetry of the hidden order parameter to the $E^{+}$- or $E^{-}$-type, depending on whether the time reversal symmetry is preserved or not.

Abstract:
Over the past two decades, unconventional superconductivity with gap symmetry other than s-wave has been found in several classes of materials, including heavy fermion (HF), high-T_c, and organic superconductors. Unconventional superconductivity is characterized by anisotropic superconducting gap functions, which may have zeros (nodes) along certain directions in the Brillouin zone. The nodal structure is closely related to the pairing interaction, and it is widely believed that the presence of nodes is a signature of magnetic or some other exotic, rather than conventional phonon-mediated, pairing mechanism. Therefore experimental determination of the gap function is of fundamental importance. However, the detailed gap structure, especially the direction of the nodes, is an unresolved issue in most unconventional superconductors. Recently it has been demonstrated that the thermal conductivity and specific heat measurements under magnetic field rotated relative to the crystal axes are a powerful method for determining the shape of the gap and the nodal directions in the bulk. Here we review the theoretical underpinnings of the method and the results for the nodal structure of several unconventional superconductors, including borocarbide YNi$_2$B$_2$C, heavy fermions UPd$_2$Al$_3$, CeCoIn$_5$, and PrOs$_4$Sb$_{12}$, organic superconductor, $\kappa$-(BEDT-TTF)$_2$Cu(NCS)$_2$, and ruthenate Sr$_2$RuO$_4$, determined by angular variation of the thermal conductivity and heat capacity.

Abstract:
We present the analysis of the inhomogeneous Fulde-Ferrell-Larkin-Ovchinnikov (FFLO) superconducting state in thin superconducting films in the parallel magnetic field. For the tetragonal crystal symmetry (relevant to CeCoIn$_{5}$ - the most probable candidate for the FFLO state formation) we predict a very peculiar in-plane angular dependence of the FFLO critical field due to the orbital effect. In the uniform superconducting state the critical field should be isotropic. The magnetic field pins also the direction of the FFLO modulation permitting thus to study the critical current anisotropy. Our calculations reveal a strong critical current anisotropy in the FFLO state in sharp contrast with the usual superconducting state. The predicted characteristic anisotropies of the critical field and critical current may provide an unambiguous probe of the FFLO phase formation.

Abstract:
It is usually considered that the SO(10) model with one 10 and one 126 Higgs scalars cannot reproduce the observed quark and charged lepton masses. Against this conventional conjecture, we find solutions of the parameters which can give the observed fermion mass spectra. The SO(10) model with one 10 and one 120 Higgs scalars is also discussed.

Abstract:
To resolve the nature of the hidden order below 17.5\,K in the heavy fermion compound URu$_2$Si$_2$, identifying which symmetries are broken below the hidden order transition is one of the most important steps. Several recent experiments on the electronic structure have shown that the Fermi surface in the hidden order phase is quite close to the result of band-structure calculations within the framework of itinerant electron picture assuming the antiferromagnetism. This provides strong evidence for the band folding along the c-axis with the ordering vector of $(0\,0\,1)$, corresponding to broken translational symmetry. In addition to this, there is growing evidence for fourfold rotational symmetry breaking in the hidden-order phase from measurements of the in-plane magnetic anisotropy and the effective mass anisotropy in the electronic structure, as well as the orthorhombic lattice distortion. This broken fourfold symmetry gives a stringent constraint that the symmetry of the hidden order parameter should belong to the degenerate $E$-type irreducible representation. We also discuss a possibility that time reversal symmetry is also broken, which further narrows down the order parameter that characterizes the hidden order.

Abstract:
Whether a quantum critical point (QCP) lies beneath the superconducting dome has been a long-standing issue that remains unresolved in many classes of unconventional superconductors, notably cuprates, heavy fermion compounds and most recently iron-pnictides. The existence of a QCP may offer a route to understand: the origin of their anomalous non-Fermi liquid properties, the microscopic coexistence between unconventional superconductivity and magnetic or some exotic order, and ultimately the mechanism of superconductivity itself. The isovalent substituted iron-pnictide BaFe$_2$(As$_{1-x}$P$_x$)$_2$ offers a new platform for the study of quantum criticality, providing a unique opportunity to study the evolution of the electronic properties in a wide range of the phase diagram. Recent experiments in BaFe$_2$(As$_{1-x}$P$_x$)$_2$ have provided the first clear and unambiguous evidence of a second order quantum phase transition lying beneath the superconducting dome.

Abstract:
The tunnel conductance in normal-metal / insulator / PrOs$_4$Sb$_{12}$ junctions is theoretically studied, where skutterudite PrOs$_4$Sb$_{12}$ is considered to be an unconventional superconductor. The conductance are calculated for several pair potentials which have been proposed in recent works. The results show that the conductance is sensitive to the relation between the direction of electric currents and the position of point nodes. We also show that the conductance spectra often deviate from the shape of the bulk density of states and that the sub gap spectra have peak structures in the case of the spin-triplet pair potentials. The results indicate that the tunnel conductance is a useful tool to obtain an information of the pairing symmetry.