Research Article

Anomalous Criticality in the Electrical Resistivity of La2–xSrxCuO4

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Science  30 Jan 2009:
Vol. 323, Issue 5914, pp. 603-607
DOI: 10.1126/science.1165015

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The presence or absence of a quantum critical point and its location in the phase diagram of high-temperature superconductors have been subjects of intense scrutiny. Clear evidence for quantum criticality, particularly in the transport properties, has proved elusive because the important low-temperature region is masked by the onset of superconductivity. We present measurements of the low-temperature in-plane resistivity of several highly doped La2–xSrxCuO4 single crystals in which the superconductivity had been stripped away by using high magnetic fields. In contrast to other quantum critical systems, the resistivity varies linearly with temperature over a wide doping range with a gradient that scales monotonically with the superconducting transition temperature. It is maximal at a critical doping level (pc) ∼ 0.19 at which superconductivity is most robust. Moreover, its value at pc corresponds to the onset of quasi-particle incoherence along specific momentum directions, implying that the interaction that first promotes high-temperature superconductivity may ultimately destroy the very quasi-particle states involved in the superconducting pairing.

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