Competition between superconductivity and magnetic/nematic order as a source of anisotropic superconducting gap in underdoped Ba1a x Kx Fe2 As2

H. Kim, M. A. Tanatar, W. E. Straszheim, K. Cho, J. Murphy, N. Spyrison, J. Ph Reid, Bing Shen, Hai Hu Wen, R. M. Fernandes, R. Prozorov

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Abstract

The in-plane London penetration depth (T) was measured using a tunnel diode resonator technique in single crystals of Ba1a xKxFe2As2 with doping levels x ranging from heavily underdoped, x=0.16 (Tc=7K), to nearly optimally doped, x=0.34 (Tc=39K). Exponential saturation of (T) in the Tâ†0 limit is found in optimally doped samples, with the superfluid density I(T)a [I (0)/Î(T)]2 quantitatively described by a self-consistent Î model with two nodeless isotropic superconducting gaps. As the doping level is decreased towards the extreme end of the superconducting dome at x=0.16, the low-temperature behavior of (T) becomes nonexponential and is best described by the power law (T)âT2, characteristic of strongly anisotropic gaps. The change between the two regimes happens within the range of coexisting magnetic/nematic order and superconductivity, x<0.25, and is accompanied by a rapid rise in the absolute value of (T) with underdoping. This effect, characteristic of the competition between superconductivity and other ordered states, is very similar to but of significantly smaller magnitude than what is observed in the electron-doped Ba(Fe1a xCox)2As2 compounds. Our study suggests that the competition between superconductivity and magnetic/nematic order in hole-doped compounds is weaker than in electron-doped compounds, and that the anisotropy of the superconducting state in the underdoped iron pnictides is a consequence of the anisotropic changes in the pairing interaction and in the gap function promoted by both magnetic and nematic long-range orders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number014517
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Volume90
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 28 2014

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