Spin-orbit coupling has been conjectured to play a key role in the low-energy electronic structure of Sr2RuO4. Using circularly polarized light combined with spin- and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy, we directly measure the value of the effective spin-orbit coupling to be 130 +/- 30 meV. This is even larger than theoretically predicted and comparable to the energy splitting of the dxy and dxz,yz orbitals around the Fermi surface, resulting in a strongly momentum-dependent entanglement of spin and orbital character. As demonstrated by the spin expectation value obtained for a pair of electrons with zero total momentum, the classification of the Cooper pairs in terms of pure singlets or triplets fundamentally breaks down, necessitating a description of the unconventional superconducting state of Sr2RuO4 in terms of these newly found spin-orbital entangled eigenstates.
- Pub Date:
- March 2013
- Condensed Matter - Superconductivity
- Accepted for publication in PRL. A high-resolution version with supplementary material can be found at http://www.phas.ubc.ca/~quantmat/ARPES/PUBLICATIONS/Articles/SpinOrbitInSr214.pdf