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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Effects of spin excitons on the surface states of SmB6: A photoemission study

  • Author(s): Arab, A
  • Gray, AX
  • Nemšák, S
  • Evtushinsky, DV
  • Schneider, CM
  • Kim, DJ
  • Fisk, Z
  • Rosa, PFS
  • Durakiewicz, T
  • Riseborough, PS
  • et al.

We present the results of a high-resolution valence-band photoemission spectroscopic study of SmB6 which shows evidence for a V-shaped density of states of surface origin within the bulk gap. The spectroscopy data are interpreted in terms of the existence of heavy 4f surface states, which may be useful in resolving the controversy concerning the disparate surface Fermi-surface velocities observed in experiments. Most importantly, we find that the temperature dependence of the valence-band spectrum indicates that a small feature appears at a binding energy of about -9 meV at low temperatures. We attribute this feature to a resonance caused by the spin-exciton scattering in SmB6 which destroys the protection of surface states due to time-reversal invariance and spin-momentum locking. The existence of a low-energy spin exciton may be responsible for the scattering, which suppresses the formation of coherent surface quasiparticles and the appearance of the saturation of the resistivity to temperatures much lower than the coherence temperature associated with the opening of the bulk gap.

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