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Journal Article

Multi-atom quasiparticle scattering interference for superconductor energy-gap symmetry determination


Davis,  J. C. Séamus
J. C. Séamus Davis, Max Planck Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids, Max Planck Society;

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Sharma, R., Kreisel, A., Sulangi, M. A., Böker, J., Kostin, A., Allan, M. P., et al. (2021). Multi-atom quasiparticle scattering interference for superconductor energy-gap symmetry determination. npj Quantum Materials, 6: 7, pp. 1-7. doi:10.1038/s41535-020-00303-4.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-DB21-D
Complete theoretical understanding of the most complex superconductors requires a detailed knowledge of the symmetry of the superconducting energy-gap Δkα, for all momenta k on the Fermi surface of every band α. While there are a variety of techniques for determining ∣Δkα∣, no general method existed to measure the signed values of Δkα. Recently, however, a technique based on phase-resolved visualization of superconducting quasiparticle interference (QPI) patterns, centered on a single non-magnetic impurity atom, was introduced. In principle, energy-resolved and phase-resolved Fourier analysis of these images identifies wavevectors connecting all k-space regions where Δkα has the same or opposite sign. But use of a single isolated impurity atom, from whose precise location the spatial phase of the scattering interference pattern must be measured, is technically difficult. Here we introduce a generalization of this approach for use with multiple impurity atoms, and demonstrate its validity by comparing the Δkα it generates to the Δkα determined from single-atom scattering in FeSe where s± energy-gap symmetry is established. Finally, to exemplify utility, we use the multi-atom technique on LiFeAs and find scattering interference between the hole-like and electron-like pockets as predicted for Δkα of opposite sign. © 2021, Crown.