Exact expectation values within Richardson's approach for the pairing Hamiltonian in a macroscopic system

G. Gorohovsky*, E. Bettelheim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


BCS superconductivity is explained by a simple Hamiltonian describing an attractive pairing interaction between pairs of electrons. The Hamiltonian may be treated using a mean-field method, which is adequate to study equilibrium properties and a variety of nonequilibrium effects. Nevertheless, in certain nonequilibrium situations, even in a macroscopic rather than a microscopic superconductor, the application of mean-field theory may not be valid. In such cases, one may resort to the full solution of the Hamiltonian, as given by Richardson in the 1960s. The relevance of Richardson's solution to macroscopic nonequilibrium superconductors was pointed out recently based on the existence of quantum instabilities out of equilibrium. It is then of interest to obtain analytical expressions for expectation values between exact eigenvalues of the pairing Hamiltonian within the Richardson approach for macroscopic systems. We undertake this task in the current paper. It should be noted that Richardson's approach yields the full set of eigenvalues of the Hamiltonian, while BCS theory yields only a subset. The results obtained here, then, generalize the familiar BCS expressions (e.g., for the electron occupation or pairing correlations) to cases where the spectrum of excitations diverges from BCS theory (e.g., in cases where the spectrum exhibits multiple gaps).

Original languageAmerican English
Article number224503
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number22
StatePublished - 14 Dec 2011


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