Friday, 21 February 2014

Orbital-selective metal–insulator transition and gap formation above TC in superconducting Rb1−xFe2−ySe2

Zhe Wang, M. Schmidt, J. Fischer, V. Tsurkan, M. Greger, D. Vollhardt, A. Loidl & J. Deisenhofer


Understanding the origin of high-temperature superconductivity in copper- and iron-based materials is one of the outstanding tasks of current research in condensed matter physics. Even the normal metallic state of these materials exhibits unusual properties. Here we report on a hierarchy of temperatures Tc<Tgap<Tmet in superconducting Rb1−xFe2−ySe2 observed by THz spectroscopy (Tc=critical temperature of the superconducting phase; Tgap=temperature below which an excitation gap opens; Tmet=temperature below which a metallic optical response occurs). Above Tmet=90 K the material reveals semiconducting characteristics. Below Tmet a coherent metallic THz response emerges. This metal-to-insulator-type, orbital-selective transition is indicated by an isosbestic point in the temperature dependence of the optical conductivity and dielectric constant at THz frequencies. At Tgap=61 K, a gap opens in the THz regime and then the superconducting transition occurs at Tc=32 K. This sequence of temperatures seems to reflect a corresponding hierarchy of the electronic correlations in different bands.