Ultrafast Mid-Infrared Response of YBa2Cu3O7-δ

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Science  21 Jan 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5452, pp. 470-473
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5452.470

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Optical spectra of high-transition-temperature superconductors in the mid-infrared display a gap of in-plane conductivity whose role for superconductivity remains unresolved. Femtosecond measurements of the mid-infrared reflectivity of YBa2Cu3O7-δ after nonequilibrium optical excitation are used to demonstrate the ultrafast fill-in of this gap and reveal two gap constituents: a picosecond recovery of the superconducting condensate in underdoped and optimally doped material and, in underdoped YBa2Cu3O7-δ, an additional subpicosecond component related to pseudogap correlations. The temperature-dependent amplitudes of both contributions correlate with the antiferromagnetic 41-millielectronvolt peak in neutron scattering, supporting the coupling between charges and spin excitations.

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