Specific Heat of Unconventional Superconductors
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PrOs₄Sb₁₂ is the first known heavy fermion superconductor containing Pr. Many experiments show results indicating unconventional superconductivity in this system. Most notably, PrOs₄Sb₁₂ exhibits two superconducting transitions. The upper transition occurs at Tc₁ ≈ 1.89 K and the lower transition occurs at Tc₂ ≈ 1.72 K. There are many features of this system that are not understood and do not have a unifi ed consensus among researchers. Many issues remain unanswered, such as the origin of superconductivity, symmetry of the superconducting energy gap, and the nature of the two superconducting transitions. We present specific heat data for a single PrOs₄Sb₁₂ crystal. The data show two superconducting transitions. Variance in the lower superconducting transition (among various samples) suggests multiple superconducting phases. Power law dependence of the low temperature specific heat is indicative of asymmetric energy gap. Cuprates are unconventional high temperature superconductors. The theory on origin and characteristics of superconductivity in these systems is still a debated issue. Experiments indicate presence of a phase in these systems that occurs above the superconducting transition temperature which exhibits some common characteristics with the superconducting state. An important issue is the nature of this so-called "pseudogap" phase and its relationship to the superconducting state. We have developed an experimental apparatus and procedure for measuring the specific heat of a high temperature superconductor and demonstrated it by measuring the heat capacity of a YBCO high-Tc superconductor sample.