Superconductivity mediated by polar modes in ferroelectric metals
Abstract: The occurrence of superconductivity in doped SrTiO3 at low carrier densities points to the presence of an unusually strong pairing interaction that has eluded understanding for several decades. We report experimental results showing the pressure dependence of the superconducting transition temperature, Tc, near to optimal doping that sheds light on the nature of this interaction. We find that Tc increases dramatically when the energy gap of the ferroelectric critical modes is suppressed, i.e., as the ferroelectric quantum critical point is approached in a way reminiscent to behaviour observed in magnetic counterparts. However, in contrast to the latter, the coupling of the carriers to the critical modes in ferroelectrics is predicted to be small. We present a quantitative model involving the dynamical screening of the Coulomb interaction and show that an enhancement of Tc near to a ferroelectric quantum critical point can arise due to the virtual exchange of longitudinal hybrid-polar-modes, even in the absence of a strong coupling to the transverse critical modes.