LiFeAs is unique among the arsenic based Fe-pnictide superconductors because it is the only nearly stoichiometric compound which does not exhibit magnetic order. This is at odds with electronic structure calculations which find a very stable magnetic state and predict cylindrical hole- and electron-like Fermi surface sheets whose geometry suggests spin fluctuations and a possible instability toward long-range ordering at the nesting vector. In fact, a complex magnetic phase diagram is indeed observed in the isostructural NaFeAs compound. Previous angle-resolved photoemission (ARPES) experiments revealed the existence of both hole and electron-like surfaces, but with rather distinct cross-sectional areas and an absence of the nesting that is thought to underpin both magnetic order and superconductivity in the pnictide family of superconductors. These ARPES observations were challenged by subsequent de Haas-van Alphen (dHvA) measurements which detected a few, electron-like Fermi surface sheets in rough agreement with the original band calculations. Here, we show a detailed dHvA study unveiling additional, small and nearly isotropic Fermi surface sheets in LiFeAs single crystals, which ought to correspond to hole-like orbits, as previously observed by ARPES. Therefore, our results reconcile the apparent discrepancy between ARPES and the previous dHvA results. The small size of these Fermi surface pockets suggests a prominent role for the electronic correlations in LiFeAs. The absence of gap nodes, in combination with the coexistence of quasi-two-dimensional and three-dimensional Fermi surfaces, favor an s -wave pairing symmetry for LiFeAs. But similar electron-like Fermi surfaces combined with very different hole pockets between LiFeAs and LiFeP suggest that the nodes in the gap function of LiFeP might be located on the hole pockets. This would be difficult to reconcile with the current understanding of the s ± scenario.

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© 2017 American Physical Society

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Zeng, Bin, Daiki Watanabe, Q. R. Zhang, Gang Li, Tiglet Besara, Theo Siegrist, L. Y. Xing et al. "Small and nearly isotropic hole-like Fermi surfaces in LiFeAs detected through de Haas–van Alphen effect." Physical Review B 88, no. 14 (2013): 144518.

Journal Title

Physical Review B