Low Temperature Physics: 45, 1209 (2019); https://doi.org/10.1063/10.0000132
Fizika Nizkikh Temperatur: Volume 45, Number 11 (November 2019), p. 1423-1433    ( to contents , go back )

Atomic structures and nanoscale electronic states on the surface of MgB2 superconductor observed by scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy

Akira Sugimoto, Yuta Yanase, and Toshikazu Ekino

Graduate School of Integrated Arts and Sciences, Hiroshima University, Higashi-Hiroshima 739–8521, Japan
E-mail: asugimoto@hiroshima-u.ac.jp

Takahiro Muranaka

Department of Engineering Science, University of Electro-Communications, Chofu, Tokyo, 182–8585, Japan

Alexander M. Gabovich

Institute of Physics of the National Academy of Sciences, 46 Nauki Ave., Kiev 03680, Ukraine

Received July 2, 2019, published online September 27, 2019


The systematic study of the nanoscale local electronic states on the MgB2 surface was performed using the low-temperature scanning tunnel microscopy/spectroscopy (STM/STS). The STM topography shows the atomic image of the hexagonal lattice with the constant parameter a′ = 0.31 nm, which is identified as mainly the Mg site occupancy. The temperature-dependent STS measurements were analyzed assuming the existence of two energy gaps. As a result, the fitting gap amplitudes Δfit ≃10.2 meV and 4.8 meV were found at T = 4.9 K. The scanned conductance (dI / dV) maps in the area of 4×2 nm2 show homogenous distributions of the gaps associated with the π-band. In addition, the conductance peaks at zero-bias voltage were observed through defined lines with lengths about ∼0.8 nm, which is much smaller than the superconducting coherence length ξab ~ 40 nm of MgB2. The form of the zero-bias peaks looks like that in the case of the Andreev–Saint-James reflection at the tip-sample contact.

Key words: MgB2, superconducting gap, multiband superconductivity, STM, STS.

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