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Hybridization gap and Fano resonance in SmB6

  • Author(s): Rößler, S
  • Jang, TH
  • Kim, DJ
  • Tjeng, LH
  • Fisk, Z
  • Steglich, F
  • Wirth, S
  • et al.
Abstract

Hybridization between conduction electrons and the strongly interacting f-electrons in rare earth or actinide compounds may result in new states of matter. Depending on the exact location of the concomitant hybridization gapwith respect to the Fermi energy, a heavy fermion or an insulating ground state ensues. To study this entanglement locally, we conducted scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy (STS) measurements on the "Kondo insulator" SmB6. The vast majority of surface areas investigated were reconstructed, but infrequently, patches of varying sizes of nonreconstructed Smor B-terminated surfaces also were found. On the smallest patches, clear indications for the hybridization gap with logarithmic temperature dependence (as expected for a Kondo system) and for intermultiplet transitions were observed. On nonreconstructed surface areas large enough for coherent cotunneling, we were able to observe clear-cut Fano resonances. Our locally resolved STS indicated considerable finite conductance on all surfaces independent of their structure, not proving but leaving open the possibility of the existence of a topologically protected surface state.

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