DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/83/57001
Journal: Europhysics Letters
Year of Publication: 2008
Volume: 83
Issue: 5
Authors: Kazuki MatanoZ. A. RenX. L. DongL. L. SunZ. X. ZhaoGuo-qing Zheng


Since the discovery of high transition-temperature (Tc) superconductivity in copper oxides two decades ago, continuous efforts have been devoted to searching for similar phenomenon in other compounds. With the exception of MgB2 (Tc =39 K), however, Tc is generally far lower than desired. Recently, breakthrough has been made in a new class of oxypnictide compounds. Following the initial discovery of superconductivity in LaO1-x FxFeAs (Tc =26 K), Tc onset has been raised to 55 K in ReO1-xFxFeAs (Re: Ce, Pr, Nd, Sm). Meanwhile, unravelling the nature of the energy associated with the formation of current-carrying pairs (Cooper pairs), referred to as the superconducting energy gap, is the first and vital step towards understanding why the superconductivity occurs at such high temperature and is also important for finding superconductors with still higher Tc. Here we show that, on the basis of the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) measurements in PrO0.89F0.11FeAs (Tc =45 K), the Cooper pair is in the spin-singlet state (two spins are anti-paralleled), with two energy gaps opening below Tc. The results strongly suggest the existence of nodes (zeros) in the gap. None of superconductors known to date has such unique gap features, although copper-oxides and MgB2 share part of them.