Overview on the physics and materials of the new superconductor KxFe2-ySe2
Since the discovery of high temperature superconductivity in iron pnictides in early 2008, many iron-based superconductors with different structures have been discovered, with the highest transition temperature to date being 57 K. By the end of 2010, another kind of new superconductor, the Fe-based chalcogenide K1-xFe2-ySe2 was discovered. A naive counting of the electrons in the system would lead to a conclusion that the system is heavily electron overdoped (~0.4 e/Fe). Band structure calculations further support this speculation and predict that the hole pockets which are found in the iron pnictides may be missing. This greatly challenges the widely perceived picture that the superconducting pairing is established by exchanging anti-ferromagnetic spin fluctuations and the electrons are scattered between the electron and hole pockets. Later, it was found that both potassium and iron might be deficient in K1-xFe2-ySe2, yielding to a picture of phase separation. In this picture the superconducting phase and the antiferromagnetic (AF) phase may phase separate spatially into different regions. This generates further curiosity about what is the real superconducting phase, what is the relationship between the superconducting phase and the AF phase, and what is the parent state for the superconducting phase. We propose a "spider web" model for the phase separation, which can explain both the transport and magnetic data. In this paper, we review the status of research in this rapidly growing field and list the important and unsettled issues as perspectives for future research.