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Optical investigation of the metal-insulator transition in FeSb 2

  • Physics


We present a comprehensive optical study of the narrow gap FeSb 2 semiconductor. From the optical reflectivity, measured from the far infrared up to the ultraviolet spectral range, we extract the complete absorption spectrum, represented by the real part σ 1(ω) of the complex optical conductivity. With decreasing temperature below 80 K, we find a progressive depletion of σ 1(ω) below E g∼300 cm -1 , the semiconducting optical gap. The suppressed (Drude) spectral weight within the gap is transferred at energies ω>E g and also partially piles up over a continuum of excitations extending in the spectral range between zero and E g. Moreover, the interaction of one phonon mode with this continuum leads to an asymmetric phonon shape. Even though several analogies between FeSb 2 and FeSi were claimed and a Kondo-insulator scenario was also invoked for both systems, our data on FeSb 2 differ in several aspects from those of FeSi. The relevance of our findings with respect to the Kondo insulator description will be addressed. Copyright EDP Sciences/Società Italiana di Fisica/Springer-Verlag 2006

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