Three-dimensional charge density wave order in YBa2Cu3O6.67 at high magnetic fields

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Science  20 Nov 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6263, pp. 949-952
DOI: 10.1126/science.aac6257

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Discerning charge patterns in a cuprate

Copper oxides are well known to be able to achieve the order required for superconductivity. They can also achieve another order—one that produces patterns in their charge density. Experiments using nuclear magnetic resonanceand resonant x-ray scattering have both detected this so-called charge density wave (CDW) in yttrium-based cuprates. However, the nature of the CDW appeared to be different in the two types of measurement. Gerber et al. used pulsed magnetic fields of up to 28 T, combined with scattering, to bridge the gap (see the Perspective by Julien). As the magnetic field increased, a two-dimensional CDW gave way to a three-dimensional one.

Science, this issue p. 949; see also p. 914


Charge density wave (CDW) correlations have been shown to universally exist in cuprate superconductors. However, their nature at high fields inferred from nuclear magnetic resonance is distinct from that measured with x-ray scattering at zero and low fields. We combined a pulsed magnet with an x-ray free-electron laser to characterize the CDW in YBa2Cu3O6.67 via x-ray scattering in fields of up to 28 tesla. While the zero-field CDW order, which develops at temperatures below ~150 kelvin, is essentially two dimensional, at lower temperature and beyond 15 tesla, another three-dimensionally ordered CDW emerges. The field-induced CDW appears around the zero-field superconducting transition temperature; in contrast, the incommensurate in-plane ordering vector is field-independent. This implies that the two forms of CDW and high-temperature superconductivity are intimately linked.

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