Hedgehog spin-vortex crystal stabilized in a hole-doped iron-based superconductor

Meier, W.R. and Ding, Q.-P. and Kreyssig, A. and Bud'Ko, S.L. and Sapkota, A. and Kothapalli, K. and Borisov, V. and Valentí, R. and Batista, C.D. and Orth, P.P. and Fernandes, R.M. and Goldman, A.I. and Furukawa, Y. and Böhmer, A.E. and Canfield, P.C.

Volume: 3 Pages:
DOI: 10.1038/s41535-017-0076-x
Published: 2018

Magnetism is widely considered to be a key ingredient of unconventional superconductivity. In contrast to cuprate high-temperature superconductors, antiferromagnetism in most Fe-based superconductors (FeSCs) is characterized by a pair of magnetic propagation vectors, (π,0) and (0,π). Consequently, three different types of magnetic order are possible. Of these, only stripe-type spin-density wave (SSDW) and spin-charge-density wave (SCDW) orders have been observed. A realization of the proposed spin-vortex crystal (SVC) order is noticeably absent. We report a magnetic phase consistent with the hedgehog variation of SVC order in Ni-doped and Co-doped CaKFe4As4 based on thermodynamic, transport, structural and local magnetic probes combined with symmetry analysis. The exotic SVC phase is stabilized by the reduced symmetry of the CaKFe4As4 structure. Our results suggest that the possible magnetic ground states in FeSCs have very similar energies, providing an enlarged configuration space for magnetic fluctuations to promote high-temperature superconductivity. © 2018 The Author(s).

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