The nature of superconductivity in the dilute semiconductor SrTiO3 has remained an open question for more than 50 y. The extremely low carrier densities (1018–1020 cm−3) at which superconductivity occurs suggest an unconventional origin of superconductivity outside of the adiabatic limit on which the Bardeen–Cooper–Schrieffer (BCS) and Migdal–Eliashberg (ME) theories are based. We take advantage of a newly developed method for engineering band alignments at oxide interfaces and access the electronic structure of Nb-doped SrTiO3, using high-resolution tunneling spectroscopy. We observe strong coupling to the highest-energy longitudinal optic (LO) phonon branch and estimate the doping evolution of the dimensionless electron–phonon interaction strength (λ). Upon cooling below the superconducting transition temperature (Tc), we observe a single superconducting gap corresponding to the weak-coupling limit of BCS theory, indicating an order of magnitude smaller coupling (λBCS ≈ 0.1). These results suggest that despite the strong normal state interaction with electrons, the highest LO phonon does not provide a dominant contribution to pairing. They further demonstrate that SrTiO3 is an ideal system to probe superconductivity over a wide range of carrier density, adiabatic parameter, and electron–phonon coupling strength.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - 2018 Feb 13|
- Electronic structure
- Oxide interface
ASJC Scopus subject areas