Controlling iron-based superconductivity with spin currents

J. Lee

Keywords: superconductivity, magnetism, spin current


We have explored a new mechanism for switching magnetism and superconductivity in a magnetically frustrated iron-based superconductor using spin-polarized scanning tunneling microscopy (SPSTM) [1]. Our SPSTM study on single crystal Sr2VO3FeAs made of alternating self-assembled FeAs monolayer and Sr2VO3 bilayers shows that a spin-polarized tunneling current can switch the FeAs-layer magnetism into a non-trivial C4 (2×2) order, which cannot be achieved by thermal excitation with unpolarized current. Our tunneling spectroscopy study shows that the induced C4 (2×2) order has characteristics of plaquette antiferromagnetic order in the Fe layer and strongly suppresses superconductivity. Also, thermal agitation beyond the bulk Fe spin ordering temperature erases the C4 state. These results suggest a new possibility of switching local superconductivity by changing the symmetry of magnetic order with spin-polarized and unpolarized tunneling currents in iron-based superconductors [2]. We also performed high-resolution quasiparticle interference (QPI) measurements, self-consistent BCS-theory-based QPI simulations and a detailed e-ph coupling analysis to provide direct atomic-scale proofs of enhancement of iron-based superconductivity due to the BCS mechanism based on forward-scattering interfacial phonons [3]. [1] J.-O. Jung et al., Rev. Sci. Instrum. 88, 103702 (2017) [2] S. Choi et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 119, 227001 (2017) [3] S. Choi et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 119, 107003 (2017)