Electronic Correlations, Jahn-Teller Distortions and Mott Transition to Superconductivity in Alkali-C60 Compounds
Laboratoire de Physique des Solides, UMR 8502 CNRS, Université Paris-Sud 91405, Orsay (France)
Published online: 07 March 2012
The discovery in 1991 of high temperature superconductivity (SC) in A3C60 compounds, where A is an alkali ion, has been rapidly ascribed to a BCS mechanism, in which the pairing is mediated by on ball optical phonon modes. While this has lead to consider that electronic correlations were not important in these compounds, further studies of various AnC60 with n=1, 2, 4 allowed to evidence that their electronic properties cannot be explained by a simple progressive band filling of the C60 six-fold degenerate t1u molecular level. This could only be ascribed to the simultaneous influence of electron correlations and Jahn-Teller Distortions (JTD) of the C60 ball, which energetically favour evenly charged C60 molecules. This is underlined by the recent discovery of two expanded fulleride Cs3C60 isomeric phases which are Mott insulators at ambient pressure. Both phases undergo a pressure induced first order Mott transition to SC with a (p, T) phase diagram displaying a dome shaped SC, a common situation encountered nowadays in correlated electron systems. NMR experiments allowed us to study the magnetic properties of the Mott phases and to evidence clear deviations from BCS expectations near the Mott transition. So, although SC involves an electron-phonon mechanism, the incidence of electron correlations has an importance on the electronic properties, as had been anticipated from DMFT calculations.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2012