The proposed topological Kondo insulator SmB6 hosts a bulk Kondo hybridization gap that stems from strong electronic correlations and a metallic surface state whose effective mass remains disputed. Thermopower and scanning tunneling spectroscopy measurements argue for heavy surface states that also stem from strong correlations, whereas quantum oscillation and angle-resolved photoemission measurements reveal light effective masses that would be consistent with a Kondo breakdown scenario at the surface. Here we investigate the evolution of the surface state via electrical and thermoelectric transport measurements under hydrostatic pressure, a clean symmetry-preserving tuning parameter that suppresses the Kondo gap and increases the valence of Sm from ∼2.6+ towards a 3+ magnetic metallic state. Electrical resistivity measurements reveal that the surface carrier density increases with increasing pressure, whereas thermopower measurements show an unchanged Fermi energy under pressure. As a result, the effective mass of the surface state charge carriers linearly increases with pressure as the Sm valence approaches 3+. Our results are consistent with the presence of correlation-driven surface states in SmB6 and suggest that the surface Kondo effect persists under pressure to 2 GPa.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics