Thursday, December 2, 2010
An important clue has been discovered in the mystery of the pseudogap state of the high temperature superconducting cuprates. A basic understanding of cuprates has been lacking because scientists do not understand the state out of which superconductivity develops, the so-called pseudogap state. Using scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy (STM/S), we have shown that the pseudogap state leads not only to superconductivity, but also to stripe-like correlations. These correlations have only been detected in a limited class of compounds at low temperatures, but have been predicted to fluctuate in and out of existence under a much broader range of conditions. To detect such fluctuations, we have measured the electronic conditions at each atom in order to see that the fluctuating stripes affect the response to tiny variations in the crystal throughout the pseudogap state. This discovery paves the way for a greater understanding of the pseudogap, which may be the key to unlocking new materials with even more exotic quantum mechanical behavior.
Published in Nature: "Fluctuating stripes at the onset of the pseudogap in the high-Tc superconductor Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8+x," Colin V. Parker, Pegor Aynajian, Eduardo H. da Silva Neto, Aakash Pushp, Shimpei Ono, Jinsheng Wen, Zhijun Xu, Genda Gu, and Ali Yazdani, Nature 468, 677 (2010). (Letter)
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