Student Author: Russell Flaum (Class of 2009)

Faculty Author: Dr. Sasha Dukan

Russell Flaum and Sasha Dukan performed a detailed numerical investigation of sound wave attenuation in the borocarbide superconductor  LuNi2B2C  subjected to a high magnetic field in the limit of low temperatures.   At high magnetic fields,  the Landau level quantization of electronic energies results in the appearance of gapless quasiparticle excitations at the Fermi surface.   A powerful probe of such low-energy excitations in superconductors is measurement of the attenuation of sound waves passing through the superconductor in the limit of low frequencies.  In a clean superconductor, at or near the gapless points, quasiparticles can absorb energy from ultrasonic waves and, as a result, there is an algebraic temperature dependence of the attenuation coefficient in the superconducting state.  Russell Flaum presented his work at Goucher College Student Symposium in April 2009.

This research project  is supported in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF-DMR-0856415) and is presented at the 2010 American Physical Society meeting in Portland, Oregon.