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Long-Range Incommensurate Charge Fluctuations in (Y,Nd)Ba2Cu3O6+x

Science  12 Jul 2012:
pp.
DOI: 10.1126/science.1223532

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Abstract

There are increasing indications that superconductivity competes with other orders in cuprate superconductors, but obtaining direct evidence with bulk-sensitive probes is challenging. We have used resonant soft x-ray scattering to identify two-dimensional charge fluctuations with an incommensurate periodicity of ~3.2 lattice units, a, in the copper-oxide planes of the superconductors (Y,Nd)Ba2Cu3O6+x with hole concentrations 0.09 ≤ p ≤ 0.13 per planar Cu ion. The intensity and correlation length of the fluctuation signal increase strongly upon cooling down to the superconducting transition temperature, Tc; further cooling below Tc abruptly reverses the divergence of the charge correlations. In combination with prior observations of a large gap in the spin excitation spectrum, these data indicate an incipient charge-density-wave instability that competes with superconductivity.

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