Low Temperature Physics: 39, 199 (2013); https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4794994 (12 pages)
Физика Низких Температур: Том 39, Выпуск 3 (Март 2013), c. 261-285    ( к оглавлению , назад )

Point-contact Andreev-reflection spectroscopy in anisotropic superconductors: the importance of directionality (Review Article)

D. Daghero1*, M. Tortello1, P. Pecchio1, V.A. Stepanov2, and R.S. Gonnelli1

1Dipartimento di Scienza Applicata e Tecnologia, Politecnico di Torino, Torino 10129, Italy
E-mail: dario.daghero@polito.it

2P.N. Lebedev Physical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow 119991, Russia

Received November 1, 2012


Point-contact Andreev-reflection spectroscopy (PCARS) has demonstrated to be one of the most effective experimental tools for the investigation of fundamental properties of superconductors such as the superconducting gap and the electron–phonon (or, more generally, electron–boson) coupling. By reviewing relevant examples reported in literature and presenting new results, in this paper we show that when the direction of the interface with respect to the crystallographic axes can be controlled (as in single crystals and epitaxial films) PCARS can provide invaluable information about the anisotropy of the pairing wavefunction or — in the case of multiband superconductors — on the number, amplitude and symmetry of the energy gaps. Moreover, the analysis of PCARS results within a suitable 3D generalization of the BTK model allows obtaining qualitative information about the topology of the Fermi surface.

PACS: 74.45.+c Proximity effects; Andreev effect; SN and SNS junctions;
PACS: 74.70.–b Superconducting materials other than cuprates;
PACS: 74.20.Rp Pairing symmetries.

Key words: point-contact spectroscopy, Andreev reflection, unconventional superconductivity, order-parameter anisotropy.