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Collapse of the Fe-vacancy order and successive phase transitions in superconducting KxFe2-ySe2 (0.7 \leg x \leg 0.8, 0.2 \leg y \leg 0.3)

  • Li, J. Q.
  • Song, Y. J.
  • Yang, H. X.
  • Wang, Z.
  • Shi, H. L.
  • Chen, G. F.
  • Wang, Z. W.
  • Chen, Z.
  • Tian, H. F.
Publication Date
Apr 28, 2011
Submission Date
Apr 28, 2011
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The Fe-based superconducting KxFe2-ySe2 (0.6 {\leg} x {\leg} 1, 0.2{\leg} y {\leg} 0.4) compounds, unlike the well-known RFe2As2 (R = Ba, Sr, Ca) superconductors, contain complex structural features and notable physical properties, such as the Fe-vacancy ordering, multi-superconducting transitions and the phase separation[1]. Recent experimental studies also suggested the presence of remarkable interplay among the Fe-vacancy order and the antiferromagnetic structure[2]. Here we demonstrate that the well-characterized superconducting KxFe2-ySe2 (0.6 {\leg} x {\leg} 0.8, 0.2 {\leg} x {\leg} 0.3) samples contain complex microstructure features and undergo successive phase transitions at low temperatures. In-situ TEM observations on a number of the KxFe2-ySe2 superconductors demonstrated the presence of a remarkable collapse of the Fe-vacancy order above the superconducting transition, as a result, the superconducting phase actually adopts a tetragonal structure without the Fe-vacancy ordering. Moreover, our analysis at the low temperatures suggests that the superconductors likely adopt a Fe-deficient structure with composition of K0.75Fe2-ySe2. These results are important not only for the further optimization of superconducting phase in present system but also for understanding the mechanism of the Fe-based superconductivity.

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