Flat-band hybridization between f and d states near the Fermi energy of SmCoIn5

We present high-quality angle-resolved photoemission (ARPES) and density functional theory calculations (DFT+U) of SmCoIn5. We find broad agreement with previously published studies of LaCoIn5 and CeCoIn5, confirming that the Sm 4f electrons are mostly localized. Nevertheless, our model is consistent with an additional delocalized Sm component, stemming from hybridization between the 4f electrons and the metallic bands at “hot spot” positions in the Brillouin zone. 

The dominant hot spot, called γZ, is similar to a source of delocalized f states found in previous experimental and theoretical studies of CeCoIn5. In this work, we identify and focus on the role of the Co d states in exploring the relationship between heavy quasiparticles and the magnetic interactions in SmCoIn5, which lead to a magnetically ordered ground state from within an intermediate valence scenario. Specifically, we find a globally flat band consisting of Co d states near E = − 0.7 eV, indicating the possibility of enhanced electronic and magnetic interactions in the “115” family of materials through localization in the Co layer, and we discuss a possible origin in geometric frustration. We also show that the delocalized Sm 4f states can hybridize directly with the Co 3dxz/3dyz orbitals, which occurs in our model at the Brillouin zone boundary point R in a band that is locally flat and touches the Fermi level from above. Our work identifies microscopic ingredients for additional magnetic interactions in the “115” materials beyond the RKKY mechanism, and strongly suggests that the Co d bands are an important ingredient in the formation of both magnetic and superconducting ground states.