Electronic thermal conductivity and the Wiedemann-Franz law for unconventional superconductors

M. Graf, S. K. Yip, J. Sauls, D. Rainer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

169 Scopus citations


We use the quasiclassical theory of superconductivity to calculate the electronic contribution to the thermal conductivity. The theory is formulated for low temperatures when heat transport is limited by electron scattering from random defects and for superconductors with nodes in the order parameter. We show that certain eigenvalues of the thermal conductivity tensor are universal at low temperature, (Formula presented)≪γ, where γ is the bandwidth of impurity bound states in the superconducting phase. The components of the electrical and thermal conductivity also obey a Wiedemann-Franz law with the Lorenz ratio L(T)=κ/σT given by the Sommerfeld value of (Formula presented)=((Formula presented)/3)((Formula presented)/e(Formula presented) for (Formula presented)≪γ. For intermediate temperatures the Lorenz ratio deviates significantly from (Formula presented), and is strongly dependent on the scattering cross section, and qualitatively different for resonant vs nonresonant scattering. We include comparisons with other theoretical calculations and the thermal conductivity data for the high-(Formula presented) cuprate and heavy fermion superconductors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15147-15161
Number of pages15
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number22
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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