Disorder-promoted C4 -symmetric magnetic order in iron-based superconductors

Mareike Hoyer, Rafael M. Fernandes, Alex Levchenko, Jörg Schmalian

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In most iron-based superconductors, the transition to the magnetically ordered state is closely linked to a lowering of structural symmetry from tetragonal (C4) to orthorhombic (C2). However, recently, a regime of C4-symmetric magnetic order has been reported in certain hole-doped iron-based superconductors. This novel magnetic ground state can be understood as a double-Q spin density wave characterized by two order parameters M1 and M2 related to each of the two Q vectors. Depending on the relative orientations of the order parameters, either a noncollinear spin-vortex crystal or a nonuniform charge-spin density wave could form. Experimentally, Mössbauer spectroscopy, neutron scattering, and muon spin rotation established the latter as the magnetic configuration of some of these optimally hole-doped iron-based superconductors. Theoretically, low-energy itinerant models do support a transition from single-Q to double-Q magnetic order, but with nearly degenerate spin-vortex crystal and charge-spin density wave states. In fact, extensions of these low-energy models including additional electronic interactions tip the balance in favor of the spin-vortex crystal, in apparent contradiction with the recent experimental findings. In this paper we revisit the phase diagram of magnetic ground states of low-energy multiband models in the presence of weak disorder. We show that impurity scattering not only promotes the transition from C2 to C4-magnetic order, but it also favors the charge-spin density wave over the spin-vortex crystal phase. Additionally, in the single-Q phase, our analysis of the nematic coupling constant in the presence of disorder supports the experimental finding that the splitting between the structural and stripe-magnetic transition is enhanced by disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number144414
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number14
StatePublished - Apr 18 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
A.L. acknowledges support by NSF Grant No. DMR-1606517, BSF Grant No. 2014107, and in part by DAAD grant from German Academic Exchange Services. Support for this research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison was provided by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education with funding from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. R.M.F. is supported by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, under Award No. DE-SC0012336.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Physical Society.


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