Anisotropic Energy Gaps of Iron-Based Superconductivity from Intraband Quasiparticle Interference in LiFeAs

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Science  04 May 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6081, pp. 563-567
DOI: 10.1126/science.1218726

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If strong electron-electron interactions between neighboring Fe atoms mediate the Cooper pairing in iron-pnictide superconductors, then specific and distinct anisotropic superconducting energy gaps Δi(k) should appear on the different electronic bands i. Here, we introduce intraband Bogoliubov quasiparticle scattering interference (QPI) techniques for determination of Δik.  in such materials, focusing on lithium iron arsenide (LiFeAs). We identify the three hole-like bands assigned previously as γ, α2, and α1, and we determine the anisotropy, magnitude, and relative orientations of their Δik.  These measurements will advance quantitative theoretical analysis of the mechanism of Cooper pairing in iron-based superconductivity.

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