Colloquium on July 7th, 2008

Manfred Sigrist
ETH Zürich

How to form Cooper pairs without inversion symmetry?

The absence of inversion symmetry in a material has strong implications on the spin structure of the electronic spectrum due to the spin splitting of the band structure by spin-orbit coupling. This affects superconductivity in a special way through a novel Cooper pairing symmetry which has most intriguing consequences when the pairing channel is unconventional., i.e. non-s-wave. The study of this type of superconductivity has been motivated by the recent discovery of a number of non-centrosymmetric heavy fermion superconductors, such as CePt2Si, CeRhSi3 or CeIrSi3.
In this talk I will present the basic concept of non-centrosymmetric supercon-ductivity and discuss the experimental implications for the superconducting phase of various materials.