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Dynamical charge density fluctuations pervading the phase diagram of a Cu-based high-Tc superconductor

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Science  30 Aug 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6456, pp. 906-910
DOI: 10.1126/science.aav1315

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Pervasive fluctuations

Among the many intertwined phases in the cuprate superconductor phase diagram is the charge density wave (CDW) order, which has been detected in all major cuprate families. It is thought that CDW competes with superconductivity, but whether it has bearing on the mechanism of superconductivity remains unclear. Arpaia et al. undertook a comprehensive study of charge density fluctuations in a cuprate family, varying doping and temperature. They found that short-range dynamic charge fluctuations were present in a large portion of the phase diagram, at temperatures considerably higher than those at which the CDW order disappears.

Science, this issue p. 906

Abstract

Charge density modulations have been observed in all families of high–critical temperature (Tc) superconducting cuprates. Although they are consistently found in the underdoped region of the phase diagram and at relatively low temperatures, it is still unclear to what extent they influence the unusual properties of these systems. Using resonant x-ray scattering, we carefully determined the temperature dependence of charge density modulations in YBa2Cu3O7–δ and Nd1+xBa2–xCu3O7–δ for several doping levels. We isolated short-range dynamical charge density fluctuations in addition to the previously known quasi-critical charge density waves. They persist up to well above the pseudogap temperature T*, are characterized by energies of a few milli–electron volts, and pervade a large area of the phase diagram.

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