‘Schwinger effect in superconductors’
From the sixties a deep connection has followed the development of superconductivity and quantum field theory. The Anderson-Higgs mechanism and the similarities between the Dirac and Bogoliubov-de Gennes equations are the most intriguing examples. In this last analogy, the massive Dirac particle is identified with a quasiparticle excitation and the fermion mass energy with the superconducting gap energy. I will show that, following this parallelism, it is possible to predict a new phenomenon: the superconducting Schwinger effect. As in the quantum electrodynamics Schwinger effect, where an electron-positron couple is created from the vacuum by an intense electric field, an electrostatic field can generate two coherent excitations from the superconducting ground-state condensate. These excitations are crucially different from the ones usually observed in superconductors and should lead to the weakening of the superconductivity.
I will discuss the connection with recent experiments and future developments inspired by the original Schwinger paper.
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