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Nat Commun ; 14(1): 2622, 2023 May 05.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-37147296


Charge modulations have been widely observed in cuprates, suggesting their centrality for understanding the high-Tc superconductivity in these materials. However, the dimensionality of these modulations remains controversial, including whether their wavevector is unidirectional or bidirectional, and also whether they extend seamlessly from the surface of the material into the bulk. Material disorder presents severe challenges to understanding the charge modulations through bulk scattering techniques. We use a local technique, scanning tunneling microscopy, to image the static charge modulations on Bi2-zPbzSr2-yLayCuO6+x. The ratio of the phase correlation length ξCDW to the orientation correlation length ξorient points to unidirectional charge modulations. By computing new critical exponents at free surfaces including that of the pair connectivity correlation function, we show that these locally 1D charge modulations are actually a bulk effect resulting from classical 3D criticality of the random field Ising model throughout the entire superconducting doping range.

Nat Mater ; 11(7): 585-9, 2012 May 06.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-22561901


A complicating factor in unravelling the theory of high-temperature (high-T(c)) superconductivity is the presence of a 'pseudogap' in the density of states, the origin of which has been debated since its discovery. Some believe the pseudogap is a broken symmetry state distinct from superconductivity, whereas others believe it arises from short-range correlations without symmetry breaking. A number of broken symmetries have been imaged and identified with the pseudogap state, but it remains crucial to disentangle any electronic symmetry breaking from the pre-existing structural symmetry of the crystal. We use scanning tunnelling microscopy to observe an orthorhombic structural distortion across the cuprate superconducting Bi(2)Sr(2)Ca(n-1)Cu(n)O(2n+4+x) (BSCCO) family tree, which breaks two-dimensional inversion symmetry in the surface BiO layer. Although this inversion-symmetry-breaking structure can impact electronic measurements, we show from its insensitivity to temperature, magnetic field and doping, that it cannot be the long-sought pseudogap state. To detect this picometre-scale variation in lattice structure, we have implemented a new algorithm that will serve as a powerful tool in the search for broken symmetry electronic states in cuprates, as well as in other materials.