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High-transition-temperature superconductivity in the absence of the magnetic-resonance mode


The fundamental mechanism that gives rise to high-transition-temperature (high-Tc) superconductivity in the copper oxide materials has been debated since the discovery of the phenomenon. Recent work has focused on a sharp ‘kink’ in the kinetic energy spectra of the electrons as a possible signature of the force that creates the superconducting state1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14. The kink has been related to a magnetic resonance13,15,16,17 and also to phonons18. Here we report that infrared spectra of Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8+δ (Bi-2212), shows that this sharp feature can be separated from a broad background and, interestingly, weakens with doping before disappearing completely at a critical doping level of 0.23 holes per copper atom. Superconductivity is still strong in terms of the transition temperature at this doping (Tc ≈ 55 K), so our results rule out both the magnetic resonance peak and phonons as the principal cause of high-Tc superconductivity. The broad background, on the other hand, is a universal property of the copper–oxygen plane and provides a good candidate signature of the ‘glue’ that binds the electrons.

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Figure 1: The optical single-particle self-energy of Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8+δ.
Figure 2: Comparison of the self-energy measured with infrared and angle-resolved photoemission for Bi-2212.
Figure 3: Doping-dependent properties of the optical resonance mode.


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This work has been supported by the Canadian Natural Science and Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Institute of Advanced Research. We thank H. Eisaki and M. Greven for supplying us with several crystals. Their work at Stanford University was supported by the Department of Energy's Office of Basic Sciences, Division of Materials Science. The work at Brookhaven was supported in part by the Department of Energy. We thank D. N. Basov, J. P. Carbotte, G. M. Luke and M. R. Norman for discussions.

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Hwang, J., Timusk, T. & Gu, G. High-transition-temperature superconductivity in the absence of the magnetic-resonance mode. Nature 427, 714–717 (2004).

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