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Title: Magnetism and superconductivity in iron pnictides and iron chalcogenides
Author: Wright, Jack Daniel
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis presents a study on several series of unconventional Fe-based superconductors; namely, derivatives of NaFeAs and LiFeAs, as well as molecular-intercalated FeSe. Primarily using muon spin rotation (SR), but also x-ray diffraction (XRD) and magnetic susceptibility measurements, the nature of both magnetic and superconducting phases within these systems is studied. Particular attention is focussed on how these states compete or coexist with one another. The aforementioned experimental techniques are first used to explore the phase diagram of NaFe1xCoxAs. This phase diagram includes regions of long-range antiferromagnetism and short-range order, that both coexist with superconductivity. Magnetism is gradually destroyed, primarily through a diminishment of the size of the ordered moment, as superconductivity is enhanced by Co substitution. This interplay is explored in detail. By contrast, superconductivity in LiFeAs cannot be enhanced by transition metal substitution, suggesting that it is intrinsically optimally-doped. I investigate this conclusion by studying the evolution of the penetration depth in superconducting compositions of LiFe1xCoxAs and LiFe1xNixAs, and comparing these data to those from other electron-doped systems. I also study an unusual and emergent magnetic phase in Li1yFe1+yAs. This work suggests that LiFeAs supports a superconducting phase that resembles those in other Fe-pnictides, but is uniquely close to an additional magnetic instability. I then move on to the study of a recently discovered series, based on FeSe intercalated with ammonia and various metals. I study both the penetration depth and the intrinsic magnetic phases in these systems using SR and compare them with other compounds based on FeSe. I find that these intercalated systems support spacially separated regions of dynamic magnetism and superconductivity and I discuss how much these phases depend on the precise chemical details of the intercalated layer. Finally, I return to the experimental study of NaFe1xCoxAs, extending the range of techniques employed by using high-field magnetometry and high-pressure SR. These studies reveal new features of this system that were not accessible using low-field and ambient-pressure methods. In particular, I show that the magnetic moment size in NaFeAs unexpectedly increases with pressure, suggesting that the electronic structure of this compound may be unique amongst known Fe-based superconductors.
Supervisor: Blundell, Stephen; Clarke, Simon Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: High-Temperature Superconductivity ; Solid state chemistry ; Condensed Matter Physics ; Magnetism ; superconductivity ; muon spin rotation