Article open access publication

Imaging the real space structure of the spin fluctuations in an iron-based superconductor

Nature Communications, Springer Nature, ISSN 2041-1723

Volume 8, 1, 2017

DOI:10.1038/ncomms15996, Dimensions: pub.1090280643, PMC: PMC5493767, PMID: 28660875,


Chi, Shun (1)
Kreisel, A. (4) (5)
Wahl, Peter * (2) (3)

* Corresponding author



  1. (1) University of British Columbia, grid.17091.3e
  2. (2) University of St Andrews, grid.11914.3c
  3. (3) Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, grid.419552.e
  4. (4) Institut für Theoretische Physik, Universität Leipzig, D-04103, Leipzig, Germany
  5. (5) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU


Spin fluctuations are a leading candidate for the pairing mechanism in high temperature superconductors, supported by the common appearance of a distinct resonance in the spin susceptibility across the cuprates, iron-based superconductors and many heavy fermion materials. The information we have about the spin resonance comes almost exclusively from neutron scattering. Here we demonstrate that by using low-temperature scanning tunnelling microscopy and spectroscopy we can characterize the spin resonance in real space. We show that inelastic tunnelling leads to the characteristic dip-hump feature seen in tunnelling spectra in high temperature superconductors and that this feature arises from excitations of the spin fluctuations. Spatial mapping of this feature near defects allows us to probe non-local properties of the spin susceptibility and to image its real space structure.


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