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Direct observation of spin–orbit coupling in iron-based superconductors

DOI: 10.1038/nphys3594 DOI Help

Authors: S. V. Borisenko (IFW-Dresden) , D. V. Evtushinsky (IFW-Dresden) , Z. H Liu (IFW-Dresden) , I. Morozov (IFW-Dresden) , R. Kappenberger (IFW-Dresden) , S. Wurmehl (IFW-Dresden) , B. Büchner (IFW-Dresden) , A. N. Yaresko (Max-Planck-Institute for Solid State Research) , T. K. Kim (Diamond Light Source) , M. Hoesch (Diamond Light Source) , T. Wolf (Institut für Festkörperphysik) , N. D. Zhigadlo (Laboratory for Solid State Physics, ETH Zurich)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Nature Physics

State: Published (Approved)
Published: December 2015
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 10372 , 11643

Abstract: Spin–orbit coupling is a fundamental interaction in solids that can induce a broad range of unusual physical properties, from topologically non-trivial insulating states to unconventional pairing in superconductors1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. In iron-based superconductors its role has, so far, not been considered of primary importance, with models based on spin- or orbital fluctuations pairing being used most widely8, 9, 10. Using angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy, we directly observe a sizeable spin–orbit splitting in all the main members of the iron-based superconductors. We demonstrate that its impact on the low-energy electronic structure and details of the Fermi surface topology is stronger than that of possible nematic ordering11, 12, 13. The largest pairing gap is supported exactly by spin–orbit-coupling-induced Fermi surfaces, implying a direct relation between this interaction and the mechanism of high-temperature superconductivity.

Subject Areas: Physics, Materials

Instruments: I05-ARPES

Other Facilities: 1^3-ARPES set-up of BESSY (HZB).