Competing order and nature of the pairing state in the iron pnictides

TitleCompeting order and nature of the pairing state in the iron pnictides
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsFernandes RM, Schmalian J
Journal TitlePhysical Review B
Date Published07/16
Type of ArticleComplex
ISBN Number1098-0121
Accession NumberISI:000279992600013
Keywordsantiferromagnetism, coexistence, magnetic order, nmr, points, smfeaso1-xfx, spin-density waves, superconductivity, symmetry

We show that the competition between magnetism and superconductivity can be used to determine the pairing state in the iron arsenides. To this end we demonstrate that the itinerant antiferromagnetic (AFM) phase and the unconventional s(+-) sign-changing superconducting (SC) state are near the borderline of microscopic coexistence and macroscopic phase separation, explaining the experimentally observed competition of both ordered states. In contrast, conventional s(++) pairing is not able to coexist with magnetism. Expanding the microscopic free energy of the system with competing orders around the multicritical point, we find that static magnetism plays the role of an intrinsic interband Josephson coupling, making the phase diagram sensitive to the symmetry of the Cooper-pair wave function. We relate this result to the quasiparticle excitation spectrum and to the emergent SO(5) symmetry of systems with particle-hole symmetry. Our results rely on the assumption that the same electrons that form the ordered moment contribute to the superconducting condensate and that the system is close to particle-hole symmetry. We also compare the suppression of SC in different regions of the FeAs phase diagram, showing that while in the underdoped side it is due to the competition with AFM, in the overdoped side it is related to the disappearance of pockets from the Fermi surface.

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