Disentangling the Electronic and Phononic Glue in a High-Tc Superconductor

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Science  30 Mar 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6076, pp. 1600-1603
DOI: 10.1126/science.1216765

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Unveiling the nature of the bosonic excitations that mediate the formation of Cooper pairs is a key issue for understanding unconventional superconductivity. A fundamental step toward this goal would be to identify the relative weight of the electronic and phononic contributions to the overall frequency (Ω)–dependent bosonic function, Π(Ω). We performed optical spectroscopy on Bi2Sr2Ca0.92Y0.08Cu2O8+δ crystals with simultaneous time and frequency resolution; this technique allowed us to disentangle the electronic and phononic contributions by their different temporal evolution. The spectral distribution of the electronic excitations and the strength of their interaction with fermionic quasiparticles fully account for the high critical temperature of the superconducting phase transition.

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