Chasing Arcs in Cuprate Superconductors

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Science  28 Aug 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5944, pp. 1080-1081
DOI: 10.1126/science.1178841

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Important clues to the origin of high-temperature superconductivity in cuprate compounds lie within the normal phase of these compounds, which forms above the transition temperature Tc. One unusual feature of the normal phase is the presence of a pseudogap; depending on the momentum of the charge carrier, its excitation energy is either zero or finite (1). Two reports in Science, by Pushp et al. (2) in June and by Lee et al. (3) on page 1099 of this issue, have used scanning tunneling microscopy to provide dramatic new insights into the pseudogap phase and to elucidate how the electronic excitations, both above and below Tc, differ for different values of the carrier momentum.