The coexistence of phases, characterized by different electronic degrees of freedom, commonly occurs in layered superconductors. Among them, alkaline intercalated chalcogenides are model systems showing the microscale coexistence of paramagnetic (PAR) and antiferromagnetic (AFM) phases, however, the temporal behavior of different phases is still unknown. Here, we report a visualization of the atomic motion in the granular phase of KxFe2-ySe2 using x-ray photon correlation spectroscopy. Unlike the PAR phase, the AFM texture reveals an intermittent dynamics with avalanches as in martensites. When cooled down across the superconducting transition temperature Tc, the AFM phase goes through an anomalous slowing behavior, suggesting a direct relationship between the atomic motions in the AFM phase and the superconductivity. In addition to providing compelling evidence of avalanchelike dynamics in a layered superconductor, the results provide a basis for different theoretical models to describe the quantum states in inhomogeneous solids.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics