Nematic spin correlations in the tetragonal state of uniaxial-strained BaFe2−xNixAs2

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Science  31 Jul 2014:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1251853

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Understanding the microscopic origins of electronic phases in high-transition temperature (high-Tc) superconductors is important for elucidating the mechanism of superconductivity. In the paramagnetic tetragonal phase of BaFe2−xTxAs2 (where T is Co or Ni) iron pnictides, an in-plane resistivity anisotropy has been observed. Here, we use inelastic neutron scattering to show that low-energy spin excitations in these materials change from four-fold symmetric to two-fold symmetric at temperatures corresponding to the onset of the in-plane resistivity anisotropy. Because resistivity and spin excitation anisotropies both vanish near optimal superconductivity, we conclude that they are likely intimately connected.

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