Evidence for time-reversal symmetry breaking of the superconducting state near twin-boundary interfaces in FeSe revealed by scanning tunneling spectroscopy

T. Watashige, Y. Tsutsumi, T. Hanaguri, Y. Kohsaka, S. Kasahara, A. Furusaki, M. Sigrist, C. Meingast, T. Wolf, H. V. Löhneysen, T. Shibauchi, Y. Matsuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Junctions and interfaces consisting of unconventional superconductors provide an excellent experimental playground to study exotic phenomena related to the phase of the order parameter. Not only does the complex structure of unconventional order parameters have an impact on the Josephson effects, but it also may profoundly alter the quasiparticle excitation spectrum near a junction. Here, by using spectroscopic-imaging scanning tunneling microscopy, we visualize the spatial evolution of the LDOS near twin boundaries (TBs) of the nodal superconductor FeSe. The π/2 rotation of the crystallographic orientation across the TB twists the structure of the unconventional order parameter, which may, in principle, bring about a zero-energy LDOS peak at the TB. The LDOS at the TB observed in our study, in contrast, does not exhibit any signature of a zero-energy peak, and an apparent gap amplitude remains finite all the way across the TB. The low-energy quasiparticle excitations associated with the gap nodes are affected by the TB over a distance more than an order of magnitude larger than the coherence length ξab· The modification of the low-energy states is even more prominent in the region between two neighboring TBs separated by a distance ≈7ξab· In this region, the spectral weight near the Fermi level (≈ ± 0.2 meV) due to the nodal quasiparticle spectrum is almost completely removed. These behaviors suggest that the TB induces a fully gapped state, invoking a possible twist of the order parameter structure, which breaks time-reversal symmetry.

Original languageEnglish
Article number031022
JournalPhysical Review X
Volume5
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Condensed matter physics
  • Superconductivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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