Electronic Phase Separation in the Slightly Underdoped Iron Pnictide Superconductor Ba1-xKxFe2As2

J.T. Park, D.S. Inosov, C. Niedermayer, G.L. Sun, D. Haug, Niels Bech Christensen, R. Dinnebier, A.V. Boris, A.J. Drew, L. Schulz, T. Shapoval, U. Wolff, V. Neu, X.P. Yang, C.T. Lin, B. Keimer, V. Hinkov

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    Abstract

    Here we present a combined study of the slightly underdoped novel pnictide superconductor Ba1-xKxFe2As2 by means of x-ray powder diffraction, neutron scattering, muon-spin rotation (µSR), and magnetic force microscopy (MFM). Static antiferromagnetic order sets in below Tm70 K as inferred from the neutron scattering and zero-field-µSR data. Transverse-field µSR below Tc shows a coexistence of magnetically ordered and nonmagnetic states, which is also confirmed by MFM imaging. We explain such coexistence by electronic phase separation into antiferromagnetic and superconducting- or normal-state regions on a lateral scale of several tens of nanometers. Our findings indicate that such mesoscopic phase separation can be considered an intrinsic property of some iron pnictide superconductors.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPhysical Review Letters
    Volume102
    Issue number11
    Pages (from-to)117006
    ISSN0031-9007
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright (2009) by the American Physical Society.

    Keywords

    • Materials research
    • Superconducting materials for the energy sector

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