"Colloquium: Anomalous metals: Failed superconductors"

Aharon Kapitulnik: Steven A. Kivelson, Boris Spivak; Reviews of Modern Physics, 01/28/19.

Additional Authors: Steven A. Kivelson, Boris Spivak


The observation of metallic ground states in a variety of two-dimensional electronic systems poses a fundamental challenge for the theory of electron fluids. Here evidence is analyzed for the existence of a regime, called the “anomalous metal regime,” in diverse 2D superconducting systems driven through a quantum superconductor to metal transition by tuning physical parameters such as the magnetic field, the gate voltage in the case of systems with a metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) geometry, or the degree of disorder. The principal phenomenological observation is that in the anomalous metal, as a function of decreasing temperature, the resistivity first drops as if the system were approaching a superconducting ground state, but then saturates at low temperatures to a value that can be orders of magnitude smaller than the Drude value. The anomalous metal also shows a giant positive magnetoresistance. Thus, it behaves as if it were a “failed superconductor.” This behavior is observed in a broad range of parameters. It will be moreover exhibited, by theoretical solution of a model of superconducting grains embedded in a metallic matrix, that as a matter of principle such anomalous metallic behavior can occur in the neighborhood of a quantum superconductor to metal transition. However, it will be also argued that the robustness and ubiquitous nature of the observed phenomena are difficult to reconcile with any existing theoretical treatment and speculate about the character of a more fundamental theoretical framework.