heavy-fermion system

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A solid in which the electrons have a very high effective mass; i.e. they act as if they had masses several hundred times the normal mass of the electron. An example of a heavy-fermion system is the cerium–copper–silicon compound CeCuSi2. The electrons with high effective mass are f-electrons in narrow energy bands associated with strong many-body effects. Substances containing such electrons have unusual thermodynamic, magnetic, and superconducting properties, which are still not completely understood. The superconductivity of such materials has a more complicated mechanism than that for metals described by the BCS theory, since the Cooper pairs are formed from quasiparticles with very high effective masses rather than from electrons.

Subjects: Physics.

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