Imaging Doped Holes in a Cuprate Superconductor with High-Resolution Compton Scattering

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Science  28 Apr 2011:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1199391


The high-temperature superconducting cuprate, La2−xSrxCuO4 (LSCO), shows several phases ranging from antiferromagnetic insulator to metal with increasing hole doping. To understand how the nature of the hole state evolves with doping, we have carried out high-resolution Compton scattering measurements at room temperature together with first-principles electronic structure computations on a series of LSCO single crystals in which the hole doping level varies from the underdoped (UD) to the overdoped (OD) regime. Holes in the UD system are found to primarily populate the O 2px/py orbitals. In contrast, the character of holes in the OD system is very different in that these holes mostly enter Cu-d orbitals. High-resolution Compton scattering provides a bulk-sensitive method for imaging the orbital character of dopants in complex materials.