Manipulation of gap nodes by uniaxial strain in iron-based superconductors

Jian Kang, Alexander F. Kemper, Rafael M. Fernandes

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28 Scopus citations


In the iron pnictides and chalcogenides, multiple orbitals participate in the superconducting state, enabling different gap structures to be realized in distinct materials. Here we argue that the spectral weights of these orbitals can, in principle, be controlled by a tetragonal symmetry-breaking uniaxial strain, due to the enhanced nematic susceptibility of many iron-based superconductors. By investigating multiorbital microscopic models in the presence of orbital order, we show that not only Tc can be enhanced, but pairs of accidental gap nodes can be annihilated and created in the Fermi surface by an increasing external strain. We explain our results as a mixture of nearly degenerate superconducting states promoted by strain, and show that the annihilation and creation of nodes can be detected experimentally via anisotropic penetration depth measurements. Our results provide a promising framework to externally control the superconducting properties of iron-based materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number217001
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 18 2014

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