The Ground State of the Pseudogap in Cuprate Superconductors

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Science  22 Dec 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5807, pp. 1914-1916
DOI: 10.1126/science.1134742

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We present studies of the electronic structure of La2–xBaxCuO4, a system where the superconductivity is strongly suppressed as static spin and charge orders or “stripes” develop near the doping level of x = ⅛. Using angle-resolved photoemission and scanning tunneling microscopy, we detect an energy gap at the Fermi surface with magnitude consistent with d-wave symmetry and with linear density of states, vanishing only at four nodal points, even when superconductivity disappears at x = ⅛. Thus, the nonsuperconducting, striped state at x = ⅛ is consistent with a phase-incoherent d-wave superconductor whose Cooper pairs form spin-charge–ordered structures instead of becoming superconducting.

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