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Published March 15, 2017 | Published
Journal Article Open

Multiple superconducting states induced by pressure in Mo_3Sb_7


Tuning competing ordering mechanisms with hydrostatic pressure in the 4d intermetallic compound Mo_3Sb_7 reveals an intricate interplay of structure, magnetism, and superconductivity. Synchrotron x-ray diffraction and magnetic susceptibility measurements, both employing diamond anvil cell technologies, link a first-order structural phase transition to a doubling of the superconducting transition temperature. In contrast to the spin-dimer picture for Mo_3Sb_7, we deduce from x-ray absorption near-edge structure and dc magnetization measurements at ambient pressure that Mo_3Sb_7 should possess only very small, itinerant magnetic moments. The pressure evolution of the superconducting transition temperature strongly suggests its enhancement is due to a difference in the phonon density-of-states with changed crystal symmetry.

Additional Information

© 2017 American Physical Society. Received 5 August 2016; revised manuscript received 4 January 2017; published 1 March 2017. We thank J. Q. Yan and B. C. Sales for providing samples, J.-G. Cheng for communication of unpublished data, and M. Norman for enlightening discussions. The work at Caltech was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences Award No. DE-SC0014866. The high-pressure ac susceptibility measurements used shared facilities of the University of Chicago Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (National Science Foundation Grant No. DMR-1420709). The x-ray work at the Advanced Photon Source of Argonne National Laboratory was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences under Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357. The SQUID magnetometry measurements were performed at the Center for Nanoscale Materials of Argonne National Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility, under Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357 with the assistance of B. Fisher. The work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, Materials Sciences and Engineering Division.

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