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Phys Rev Lett. 2012 Jun 15;108(24):247002. Epub 2012 Jun 12.

Coexistence and competition of the short-range incommensurate antiferromagnetic order with the superconducting state of BaFe(2-x)Ni(x)As2.

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Beijing National Laboratory for Condensed Matter Physics, Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China.


Superconductivity in the iron pnictides develops near antiferromagnetism, and the antiferromagnetic (AF) phase appears to overlap with the superconducting phase in some materials such as BaFe(2-x)T(x)As2 (where T=Co or Ni). Here we use neutron scattering to demonstrate that genuine long-range AF order and superconductivity do not coexist in BaFe(2-x)Ni(x)As2 near optimal superconductivity. In addition, we find a first-order-like AF-to-superconductivity phase transition with no evidence for a magnetic quantum critical point. Instead, the data reveal that incommensurate short-range AF order coexists and competes with superconductivity, where the AF spin correlation length is comparable to the superconducting coherence length.

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