• Gerald D. Mahan
Part of the Physics of Solids and Liquids book series (PSLI)


The theory of superconductivity was formulated by Bardeen, Cooper, and Schrieffer (1957) and is called the BCS theory. It very successfully describes the superconducting properties of weak superconductors, such as aluminum, which are weak because of the small strength of the electron—phonon interaction. Further refinements of the theory have led to the strong coupling theory of Eliashberg (1960) which describes well the properties of superconductors such as lead. The distinction between aluminum and lead is roughly determined by the value of the electron—phonon mass enhancement factor λ., as shown by McMillan (1968). The BCS theory is discussed first. It must rank as one of the great successes of many-body formalism, since the theory provides detailed agreement with experiments. This agreement is a refreshing change from most comparisons between many-body theory and experiment, where the results often depend upon vertex corrections, correlations, and computer simulations. The beauty of BCS is that it is, mathematically, a simple theory which is exceedingly accurate. The reason it works is that the basic coupling forces are weak, and mean field works well.


Fermi Surface Tunnel Junction Electron Tunneling Josephson Current Energy Denominator 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerald D. Mahan
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  2. 2.Oak Ridge National LaboratoryUSA

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