Anisotropic spin fluctuations in detwinned FeSe

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Abstract

Superconductivity in FeSe emerges from a nematic phase that breaks four-fold rotational symmetry in the iron plane. This phase may arise from orbital ordering, spin fluctuations or hidden magnetic quadrupolar order. Here we use inelastic neutron scattering on a mosaic of single crystals of FeSe, detwinned by mounting on a BaFe2As2 substrate to demonstrate that spin excitations are most intense at the antiferromagnetic wave vectors QAF = (±1, 0) at low energies E = 6–11 meV in the normal state. This two-fold (C2) anisotropy is reduced at lower energies, 3–5 meV, indicating a gapped four-fold (C4) mode. In the superconducting state, however, the strong nematic anisotropy is again reflected in the spin resonance (E = 3.6 meV) at QAF with incommensurate scattering around 5–6 meV. Our results highlight the extreme electronic anisotropy of the nematic phase of FeSe and are consistent with a highly anisotropic superconducting gap driven by spin fluctuations.

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Chen, T., Chen, Y., Kreisel, A., Lu, X., Schneidewind, A., Qiu, Y., … Dai, P. (2019). Anisotropic spin fluctuations in detwinned FeSe. Nature Materials, 18(7), 709–716. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41563-019-0369-5

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