Canonical pair condensation in a flat-band BCS superconductor
Theory of Quantum and Complex Systems, Universiteit Antwerpen,
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Received in final form: 16 February 2019
Published online: 12 June 2019
The standard approach of the Bardeen–Cooper–Schrieffer (BCS) theory of superconductivity is to introduce a self-consistent mean-field approximation, and a variational ansatz for the many-body ground state. The resulting mean-field Hamiltonian no longer commutes with the total number operator, and the variational search takes place in Fock space rather than in a Hilbert space of states with fixed number of particles. This is a disadvantage when studying small systems where the canonical ensemble predictions differ from the corresponding grand-canonical results. To remedy this, alternative approaches such as Richardson’s method have been put forward. Here, we derive the exact many-body ground state of a model Hamiltonian corresponding to the deep-BCS or flat-band regime, without having to resort to Richardson’s set of coupled nonlinear equations. This allows to write the exact many-body ground state in a way that makes the difference with the BCS variational wave function particularly clear. We show that the exact wave function consists of a superposition of many-pair states in such a way that the mean-field averaging corresponds to a summation over these many-pair states. This explains why many expectation values calculated with the BCS variational wave function give the same result as when calculated with the exact wave function, even though these wave functions are different. In the canonical (fixed-number) approach, pairing is investigated using the second-order reduced density matrix and calculating its largest eigenvalue. When interpreted as the order parameter of the superconducting state, this can be compared directly to the behavior of the mean-field gap. Finally, we show that a clear difference between the canonical approach and the BCS grand canonical estimates appears when evaluating pair condensate fluctuations as well as the pair entanglement entropy.
Key words: Solid State and Materials
© EDP Sciences / Società Italiana di Fisica / Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature, 2019