Field theory of a superconductor with repulsion

Amir Dalal, Jonathan Ruhman, Vladyslav Kozii

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A superconductor emerges as a condensate of electron pairs, which bind despite their strong Coulomb repulsion. Eliashberg's theory elucidates the mechanisms enabling them to overcome this repulsion and predicts the transition temperature and pairing correlations. However, a comprehensive understanding of how repulsion impacts the phenomenology of the resulting superconductor remains elusive. We present a formalism that addresses this challenge by applying the Hubbard-Stratonovich transformation to an interaction including instantaneous repulsion and retarded attraction. We first decompose the interaction into frequency scattering channels and then integrate out the fermions. The resulting bosonic action is complex and the saddle point corresponding to Eliashberg's equations generally extends into the complex plane and away from the physical axis. We numerically determine this saddle point using the gradient descent method, which is particularly well-suited for the case of strong repulsion. We then turn to consider fluctuations around this complex saddle point. The matrix controlling fluctuations about the saddle point is found to be a non-Hermitian symmetric matrix, which generally suffers from exceptional points that are tuned by different parameters. These exceptional points may influence the thermodynamics of the superconductor. For example, within the quadratic approximation, the upper critical field sharply peaks at a critical value of the repulsion strength related to an exceptional point appearing at Tc. Our work facilitates the mapping between microscopic and phenomenological theories of superconductivity, particularly in the presence of strong repulsion. It has the potential to enhance the accuracy of theoretical predictions for experiments in systems where the pairing mechanism is unknown.

Original languageEnglish
Article number214521
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number21
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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