The idea of employing non-Abelian statistics for error-free quantum computing ignited interest in reports of topological surface superconductivity and Majorana zero modes (MZMs) in FeTe0.55Se0.45. However, the topological features and superconducting properties are not observed uniformly across the sample surface. The understanding and practical control of these electronic inhomogeneities present a prominent challenge for potential applications. Here, we combine neutron scattering, scanning angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy, and microprobe composition and resistivity measurements to characterize the electronic state of Fe1+yTe1−xSex. We establish a phase diagram in which the superconductivity is observed only at sufficiently low Fe concentration, in association with distinct antiferromagnetic correlations, whereas the coexisting topological surface state occurs only at sufficiently high Te concentration. We find that FeTe0.55Se0.45 is located very close to both phase boundaries, which explains the inhomogeneity of superconducting and topological states. Our results demonstrate the compositional control required for use of topological MZMs in practical applications.
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All data needed to evaluate the conclusions in the paper are present in the paper and/or the Supplementary Information. Additional data are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.
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We gratefully acknowledge discussions with M. Lumsden, A. Tsvelik, A. Balatsky, Q. Li and X. Wang, and technical assistance from F. Loeb and M. K. Graves-Brook. This work at the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) was supported by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Division of Materials Sciences and Engineering, United States Department of Energy (US DOE), under contract no. DE-SC0012704. Work at BNL’s Center for Functional Nanomaterials was sponsored by the Scientific User Facilities Division, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, US DOE, under the same contract. This research used resources at the Spallation Neutron Source, a DOE Office of Science User Facility operated by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Peer review Information Nature Materials thanks Donglai Feng and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
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Li, Y., Zaki, N., Garlea, V.O. et al. Electronic properties of the bulk and surface states of Fe1+yTe1−xSex. Nat. Mater. (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41563-021-00984-7