Theory of point contact spectroscopy in correlated materials

Wei Cheng Lee, Wan Kyu Park, Hamood Z. Arham, Laura H. Greene, Philip Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We developed a microscopic theory for the point-contact conductance between a metallic electrode and a strongly correlated material using the nonequilibrium Schwinger-Kadanoff-Baym-Keldysh formalism. We explicitly show that, in the classical limit, contact size shorter than the scattering length of the system, the microscopic model can be reduced to an effective model with transfer matrix elements that conserve in-plane momentum. We found that the conductance dI/dV is proportional to the effective density of states, that is, the integrated single-particle spectral function A(ω= eV ) over the whole Brillouin zone. From this conclusion, we are able to establish the conditions under which a non-Fermi liquid metal exhibits a zerobias peak in the conductance. This finding is discussed in the context of recent point-contact spectroscopy on the iron pnictides and chalcogenides, which has exhibited a zero-bias conductance peak.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)651-656
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 20 2015


  • Correlated electron materials
  • Electronic nematicity
  • Iron-based superconductors
  • Non-Fermi liquid
  • Point contact spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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