We use the quasiclassical theory of superconductivity to calculate the electronic contribution to the thermal conductivity. The theory is formulated for low temperatures when heat transport is limited by electron scattering from random defects and for superconductors with nodes in the order parameter. We show that certain eigenvalues of the thermal conductivity tensor are universal at low temperature, kB T <<γ, where γ is the bandwidth of impurity bound states in the superconducting phase. The components of the electrical and thermal conductivity also obey a Wiedemann-Franz law with the Lorenz ratio, L(T)=κ /σ T, given by the Sommerfeld value of LS=(π2/3)(kB/e)2 for kBT <<γ. For intermediate temperatures the Lorenz ratio deviates significantly from LS, and is strongly dependent on the scattering cross section, and qualitatively different for resonant vs. nonresonant scattering. We include comparisons with other theoretical calculations and the thermal conductivity data for the high Tc cuprate and heavy fermion superconductors.
Paper: [PDF] [arXiv]