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The spectroscopy of vortex bound states can provide valuable information on the structure of the superconducting order parameter. Quasiparticle wave functions are expected to leak out in the directions of gap minima or nodes, if they exist, and scanning tunneling spectroscopy (STS) on these low-energy states should probe the momentum dependence of the gap. Anisotropy can also arise from band-structure effects, however. We perform a quasiclassical calculation of the density of states of a single vortex in an anisotropic superconductor, and show that if the gap itself is not highly anisotropic, the Fermi-surface anisotropy can dominate, preventing direct observation of superconducting gap features. This serves as a cautionary message for the analysis of STS data on the vortex state on Fe-based superconductors, in particular, LiFeAs, which we treat explicitly. © 2012 American Physical Society.

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Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics