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A ‘checkerboard’ electronic crystal state in lightly hole-doped Ca2-xNaxCuO2Cl2

Nature volume 430, pages 10011005 (26 August 2004) | Download Citation

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Abstract

The phase diagram of hole-doped copper oxides shows four different electronic phases existing at zero temperature. Familiar among these are the Mott insulator, high-transition-temperature superconductor and metallic phases. A fourth phase, of unknown identity, occurs at light doping along the zero-temperature bound of the ‘pseudogap’ regime1. This regime is rich in peculiar electronic phenomena1, prompting numerous proposals that it contains some form of hidden electronic order. Here we present low-temperature electronic structure imaging studies of a lightly hole-doped copper oxide: Ca2-xNaxCuO2Cl2. Tunnelling spectroscopy (at energies |E| > 100 meV) reveals electron extraction probabilities greatly exceeding those for injection, as anticipated for a doped Mott insulator. However, for |E| < 100 meV, the spectrum exhibits a V-shaped energy gap centred on E = 0. States within this gap undergo intense spatial modulations, with the spatial correlations of a four CuO2-unit-cell square ‘checkerboard’, independent of energy. Intricate atomic-scale electronic structure variations also exist within the checkerboard. These data are consistent with an unanticipated crystalline electronic state, possibly the hidden electronic order, existing in the zero-temperature pseudogap regime of Ca2-xNaxCuO2Cl2.

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Acknowledgements

We acknowledge and thank P. Coleman, E. Demler, M. Franz, J. E. Hoffman, P. A. Lee, K. Machida, K. McElroy, D. Pines, S. Sachdev, T. Senthil, T. Timusk, M. Vojta and J. Zaanen for discussions and communications. This work was supported by the ONR, NSF, MEXT, JST and NEDO. C.L. acknowledges support from a NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship and Y.K. from a JPSJ Research Fellowship for Young Scientists.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Magnetic Materials Laboratory, RIKEN (Institute of Physical and Chemical Research), Wako 351-0198, Japan

    • T. Hanaguri
    •  & H. Takagi
  2. Japan Science and Technology Agency, Kawaguchi 332-0012, Japan

    • T. Hanaguri
    • , M. Azuma
    •  & H. Takagi
  3. LASSP, Department of Physics, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853 USA

    • C. Lupien
    •  & J. C. Davis
  4. Department of Advanced Materials Science, University of Tokyo, Kashiwa 277-8651, Japan

    • Y. Kohsaka
    •  & H. Takagi
  5. Department of Physics, University of California, and

    • D.-H. Lee
  6. Material Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California 94720, USA

    • D.-H. Lee
  7. Institute for Chemical Research, Kyoto University, Uji 601-0011, Japan

    • M. Azuma
    •  & M. Takano

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Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to T. Hanaguri or J. C. Davis.

Supplementary information

PDF files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Figure 1

    Doping dependence of the spectra from x = 0.08 to 0.12.

  2. 2.

    Supplementary Figure 2

    Topography and associated Fourier transform showing the existence of 1/4 and 3/4 signal in topographic signal.

  3. 3.

    Supplementary Figure 3

    Raw spectra and averages from the white and red points of Fig. 3b from the main text.

  4. 4.

    Supplementary Figure 4

    Doping dependence of the low temperature resistivity from x = 0.06 to 0.10.

  5. 5.

    Supplementary Figure 5

    Low energy spectra along a line cut showing heterogeneous features possibly related to superconductivity in x = 0.12 sample.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nature02861

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