Impurity-induced sub-gap bound gap states in alkali doped iron chalcogenide superconductors

Research paper by Shantanu Mukherjee, Maria N. Gastiasoro, Brian M. Andersen

Indexed on: 18 Aug '13Published on: 18 Aug '13Published in: Physics - Superconductivity


Measurements of the local density of states near impurities can be useful for identifying the superconducting gap structure in alkali doped iron chalcogenide superconductors K_xFe_{2-y}Se_2. Here, we study the effects of nonmagnetic and magnetic impurities within a nearest neighbor d-wave and next-nearest neighbor s-wave superconducting state. For both repulsive and attractive nonmagnetic impurities, it is shown that sub-gap bound states exist only for d-wave superconductors with the positions of these bound states depending rather sensitively on the electron doping level. Further, for such disorder Coulomb interactions can lead to local impurity-induced magnetism in the case of d-wave superconductivity. For magnetic impurities, both s-wave and d-wave superconducting states support sub-gap bound states. The above results can be explained by a simple analytic model that provides a semi-quantitative understanding of the variation of the impurity bound states energies as a function of impurity potential and chemical doping level.