Iron Superconductor Symmetry

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Science  17 Jun 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6036, pp. 1355
DOI: 10.1126/science.332.6036.1355-c
CREDIT: SONG ET AL.

The mechanism and symmetry of electron pairing are central issues in superconductivity research. Despite intense investigation, the pairing symmetry in the recently discovered iron-based superconductors remains elusive. Song et al. (p. 1410) studied the simplest example, iron selenide (FeSe), by scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy. A gap function and evidence of nodal lines was observed in high-quality stoichiometric and superconducting FeSe single crystalline films. When inhomogeneities were created (for example, by using magnetic fields), a twofold symmetry in the quasiparticle-excited states of the superconducting state was observed, which could be accounted for in terms of orbital ordering effects.

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