• Harald Ibach
  • Hans Lüth
Part of the Advanced Texts in Physics book series (ADTP)


In Chap. 9, the basic aspects of the phenomenon of electrical conductivity in metals were introduced and explained. The finite resistance of these materials originates from the fact that a real crystal always exhibits deviations from perfect lattice periodicity: phonons and defects. An infinitely high electrical conductivity is unthinkable in this description, because (1) a crystal without a certain degree of disorder is inconceivable according to the second law of thermodynamics, and (2) even in the absence of phonon and defect scattering, electron-electron scattering will still cause resistance (Sect. 9.3). However, in the year 1911, Onnes [10.1] discovered that the electrical resistance of mercury approaches an unmeasurably small value when it is cooled below 4.2 K. This phenomenon is called “superconductivity”, and in the subsequent years many more materials were found to be superconducting when cooled to below a certain critical temperature T c . A microscopic explanation, which, as we know from Chap. 9, cannot be obtained within the framework of a one-electron approximation, was not found for nearly half a century. It was not until shortly before 1960 that Bardeen, Cooper and Schrieffer [10.2] achieved the decisive break-through and proposed the theory now named after them (BCS theory). After a short introduction to the basic phenomena of superconductivity, this chapter will give a simplified illustration of how the important properties of superconductors can be understood within the framework of BCS theory.


Magnetic Flux Flux Tube Superconducting State Cooper Pair Tunnel Barrier 
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Further Reading

  1. Buckel, W.: Supraleitung, 5. Aufl. (VCH, Weinheim 1993 )Google Scholar
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  8. Rose-Innes, A. C., Rhoderick, E. H.: Introduction to Superconductivity ( Pergamon, Braunschweig 1969 )Google Scholar
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  11. Tinkham, M.: Introduction to Superconductivity, 2nd edn., ( McGraw-Hill, New York 1996 )Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harald Ibach
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hans Lüth
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut für Schichten und GrenzflächenForschungszentrum Jülich GmbHJülichGermany
  2. 2.Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische HochschuleAachenGermany

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