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Title: Spin-liquid polymorphism in a correlated electron system on the threshold of superconductivity

Abstract

We report neutron scattering measurements which reveal spin-liquid polymorphism in an “11” iron chalcogenide superconductor. It occurs when a poorly metallic magnetic state of FeTe is tuned toward superconductivity by substitution of a small amount of tellurium with isoelectronic sulfur. We also observe a liquid-like magnetic response, which is described by the coexistence of two disordered magnetic phases with different local structures whose relative abundance depends on temperature. One is the ferromagnetic (FM) plaquette phase observed in undoped, nonsuperconducting FeTe, which preserves the C4 symmetry of the underlying square lattice and is favored at high temperatures, whereas the other is the antiferromagnetic plaquette phase with broken C4 symmetry, which emerges with doping and is predominant at low temperatures. These findings suggest the coexistence of and competition between two distinct liquid states, and a liquid–liquid phase transformation between these states, in the electronic spin system of FeTe1-x(S,Se)x. We have thus discovered the remarkable physics of competing spin-liquid polymorphs in a correlated electron system approaching superconductivity. These results facilitate an understanding of large swaths of recent experimental data in unconventional superconductors. In particular, the phase with lower C2 local symmetry, whose emergence precedes superconductivity, naturally accounts for a propensity for forming electronicmore » nematic states which have been observed experimentally, in cuprate and iron-based superconductors alike.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [2];  [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Science Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY 11973,
  2. Neutron Sciences Directorate, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR); Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRC) (United States). Center for Emergent Superconductivity (CES); Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES)
OSTI Identifier:
1235119
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1212362; OSTI ID: 1226061
Report Number(s):
BNL-108527-2015-JA
Journal ID: ISSN 0027-8424
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-98CH10886; AC05-00OR22725; SC00112704
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Journal Volume: 112 Journal Issue: 33; Journal ID: ISSN 0027-8424
Publisher:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; 75 CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS, SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AND SUPERFLUIDITY; magnetism; superconductivity; spin liquid; neutron scattering

Citation Formats

Zaliznyak, Igor, Savici, Andrei T., Lumsden, Mark, Tsvelik, Alexei, Hu, Rongwei, and Petrovic, Cedomir. Spin-liquid polymorphism in a correlated electron system on the threshold of superconductivity. United States: N. p., 2015. Web. doi:10.1073/pnas.1503559112.
Zaliznyak, Igor, Savici, Andrei T., Lumsden, Mark, Tsvelik, Alexei, Hu, Rongwei, & Petrovic, Cedomir. Spin-liquid polymorphism in a correlated electron system on the threshold of superconductivity. United States. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1503559112
Zaliznyak, Igor, Savici, Andrei T., Lumsden, Mark, Tsvelik, Alexei, Hu, Rongwei, and Petrovic, Cedomir. Mon . "Spin-liquid polymorphism in a correlated electron system on the threshold of superconductivity". United States. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1503559112.
@article{osti_1235119,
title = {Spin-liquid polymorphism in a correlated electron system on the threshold of superconductivity},
author = {Zaliznyak, Igor and Savici, Andrei T. and Lumsden, Mark and Tsvelik, Alexei and Hu, Rongwei and Petrovic, Cedomir},
abstractNote = {We report neutron scattering measurements which reveal spin-liquid polymorphism in an “11” iron chalcogenide superconductor. It occurs when a poorly metallic magnetic state of FeTe is tuned toward superconductivity by substitution of a small amount of tellurium with isoelectronic sulfur. We also observe a liquid-like magnetic response, which is described by the coexistence of two disordered magnetic phases with different local structures whose relative abundance depends on temperature. One is the ferromagnetic (FM) plaquette phase observed in undoped, nonsuperconducting FeTe, which preserves the C4 symmetry of the underlying square lattice and is favored at high temperatures, whereas the other is the antiferromagnetic plaquette phase with broken C4 symmetry, which emerges with doping and is predominant at low temperatures. These findings suggest the coexistence of and competition between two distinct liquid states, and a liquid–liquid phase transformation between these states, in the electronic spin system of FeTe1-x(S,Se)x. We have thus discovered the remarkable physics of competing spin-liquid polymorphs in a correlated electron system approaching superconductivity. These results facilitate an understanding of large swaths of recent experimental data in unconventional superconductors. In particular, the phase with lower C2 local symmetry, whose emergence precedes superconductivity, naturally accounts for a propensity for forming electronic nematic states which have been observed experimentally, in cuprate and iron-based superconductors alike.},
doi = {10.1073/pnas.1503559112},
journal = {Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America},
number = 33,
volume = 112,
place = {United States},
year = {2015},
month = {8}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
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https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1503559112

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