Effect of rare earth substitution in the density of electronic states of LnOFeAs
Measurements of the Fe K-edge x-ray absorption near edge (XANES) spectra of LnOFeAs (Ln being a lanthanide) high Tc superconductors exhibit significant changes in the pre-edge peak region upon rare earth substitution. Ab initio XANES calculations, based on the local structure centered at the Fe site obtained by crystallographic investigations, reproduce the observed changes in the spectra, indicating variations of the Fe d-local unoccupied electronic states. The calculated Fe density of states (DOS) at the Fermi energy shows an increase of the Fe d-density of states with increasing height of the arsenic atomic position with respect to the iron plane, similar to that observed for the superconducting transition temperature, Tc. These calculations show that not only the atomic position variation of the Fe-As layers induced by the rare earth substitution is relevant in the increase of the DOS at the Fermi-level, but the actual change in electronic configuration of the rare earth also plays a role in the increase of Fe d-density of states at the Fermi energy.