Critical quadrupole fluctuations and collective modes in iron pnictide superconductors
The multiband nature of iron pnictides gives rise to a rich temperature-doping phase diagram of competing orders and a plethora of collective phenomena. At low dopings, the tetragonal-to-orthorhombic structural transition is closely followed by a spin-density-wave transition both being in close proximity to the superconducting phase. A key question is the nature of high-Tc superconductivity and its relation to orbital ordering and magnetism. Here we study the NaFe1−xCoxAs superconductor using polarization-resolved Raman spectroscopy. The Raman susceptibility displays critical enhancement of nonsymmetric charge fluctuations across the entire phase diagram, which are precursors to a d-wave Pomeranchuk instability at temperature θ(x). The charge fluctuations are interpreted in terms of quadrupole interorbital excitations in which the electron and hole Fermi surfaces breathe in-phase. Below Tc, the critical fluctuations acquire coherence and undergo a metamorphosis into a coherent in-gap mode of extraordinary strength.