Anderson's theorem (superconductivity)

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In the field of superconductivity, Anderson's theorem states that superconductivity in a conventional superconductor is robust with respect to (non-magnetic) disorder in the host material. It is named after P. W. Anderson, who discussed this phenomenon in 1959, briefly after BCS theory was introduced.[1]

One consequence of Anderson's theorem is that the critical temperature Tc of a conventional superconductor barely depends on material purity, or more generally on defects. This concept breaks down in the case of very strong disorder, e.g. close to a superconductor-insulator transition. Also, it does not apply to unconventional superconductors. In fact, strong suppression of Tc with increasing defect scattering, thus non-validity of Anderson's theorem, is taken as a strong indication for superconductivity being unconventional.[2]


  1. ^ Anderson, P. W. (1959). "Theory of dirty superconductors". J. Phys. Chem. Solids. 11: 26–30. doi:10.1016/0022-3697(59)90036-8.
  2. ^ Mackenzie, A. P.; et al. (1989). "Extremely Strong Dependence of Superconductivity on Disorder in Sr2RuO4". Phys. Rev. Lett. 80: 161. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.80.161.