Direct observation of nanoscale interface phase in the superconducting chalcogenide KxFe2-ySe2 with intrinsic phase separation

A. Ricci, N. Poccia, B. Joseph, D. Innocenti, G. Campi, A. Zozulya, F. Westermeier, A. Schavkan, F. Coneri, A. Bianconi, H. Takeya, Y. Mizuguchi, Y. Takano, T. Mizokawa, M. Sprung, N. L. Saini

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41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We have used scanning micro x-ray diffraction to characterize different phases in superconducting KxFe2-ySe2 as a function of temperature, unveiling the thermal evolution across the superconducting transition temperature (Tc∼32 K), phase separation temperature (Tps∼520 K), and iron-vacancy order temperature (Tvo∼580 K). In addition to the iron-vacancy ordered tetragonal magnetic phase and orthorhombic metallic minority filamentary phase, we have found clear evidence of the interface phase with tetragonal symmetry. The metallic phase is surrounded by this interface phase below ∼300 K, and is embedded in the insulating texture. The spatial distribution of coexisting phases as a function of temperature provides clear evidence of the formation of protected metallic percolative paths in the majority texture with large magnetic moment, required for the electronic coherence for the superconductivity. Furthermore, a clear reorganization of iron-vacancy order around the Tps and Tc is found with the interface phase being mostly associated with a different iron-vacancy configuration, that may be important for protecting the percolative superconductivity in KxFe2-ySe2.

Original languageEnglish
Article number020503
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Volume91
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 26
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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    Ricci, A., Poccia, N., Joseph, B., Innocenti, D., Campi, G., Zozulya, A., Westermeier, F., Schavkan, A., Coneri, F., Bianconi, A., Takeya, H., Mizuguchi, Y., Takano, Y., Mizokawa, T., Sprung, M., & Saini, N. L. (2015). Direct observation of nanoscale interface phase in the superconducting chalcogenide KxFe2-ySe2 with intrinsic phase separation. Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, 91(2), [020503]. https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.91.020503