Electronic States of KxC60: Insulating, Metallic, and Superconducting Character

Science  07 Jun 1991:
Vol. 252, Issue 5011, pp. 1417-1419
DOI: 10.1126/science.252.5011.1417


The recent report of electrical conductivity in the alkali metal fullerides and the discovery of superconductivity at 18 K for KxC60 has raised fundamental questions about the electronic states on either side of the Fermi level, their occupancy with K intercalation, and the mechanism of superconductivity. Direct photoemission evidence is presented of filling of bands derived from the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital as a function of K incorporation for the metallic and insulating phases. This filling is not rigid band-like, and it reflects disorder in the K sites. Theoretical analysis indicates that KxC60 is a strong coupling superconductor, and we suggest that the enhanced electron-phonon interaction is related to the unique hybridization of the C sp-derived states.