Title: Unconventional superconductivity in Transuranium compounds : 10 years of research at ITU
Citation: 9th International Conference on the Chemistry and Physics of the Actinide Elements p. Programme number index: 1-10
Publisher: Publication Office of the European Union
Publication Year: 2013
JRC N°: JRC81643
ISBN: 978-92-79-33192-3
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC81643
DOI: 10.2789/16401
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Concerning condensed matter physics in uranium and transuranium compounds, the last decade has been full of surprises compared to the last half century. Indeed, these last 10 years have led to the discovery of a multitude of systems based of 5f electrons with astonishing properties, especially from the point of view of interplay between magnetism and superconductivity. Ferromagnetic superconducting systems, predicted long time ago, have been observed experimentally, first under pressure, for UGe2 and then at ambient pressure for URhGe and UCoGe, which are simultaneously superconducting (Tc = 0.80, 0.25 and 0.22 K respectively) and ferromagnetic (TC= 52, 9.5 and 2.9 K, respectively). In the Transuranium systems, the first big shock came with the observation of superconductivity in PuCoGa5 with a surprising Tc = 18.6 K, one scale above all other heavy fermion superconductors based on 5f electrons. This is still a record in all the f-electrons systems. Other systems based on Pu (PuRhGa5, PuCoIn5 and PuRhIn5) or Np (NpPd5Al2 (the only neptunium based superconductor) have been reported which can be related to other "known" classes of intermetallics systems such as heavy fermions superconductors with magnetic ground state. Up to now, only PuCoGa5 remains definitely difficult to associate to one class. Numerous systems have been examined at ITU in the last decades also, based on the analogy of structure or properties of existing Rare Earths superconductor's counterparts. The last family explored being the "1-1-1-1" family, but as in the simple substitution cases such as NpRhGe or PuRhGe (for URhGe), none of these attempts have led to the discovery of new superconductors. From this point of view, only the "1-1-5" family with in particular PuCoGa5 and recently, PuCoIn5 (CeCoIn5) and the "1-5-2" family with NpPd5Al2 (CePd5Al2) have shown superconductivity in both the rare-earth and Transuranium analogues. Future studies should be addressed to examine the basic properties of transplutonium elements such as Cm, Bk, and Cf as elements or as a part of compounds (alloys or oxides). These studies should be considered as a benefit to our basic knowledge and to the support to nuclear applications as these materials are present in irradiated fuels and constitute to the main problematic of nuclear wastes management.
JRC Directorate:Nuclear Safety and Security

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