Letter | Published:

Electron pockets in the Fermi surface of hole-doped high-Tc superconductors

Nature volume 450, pages 533536 (22 November 2007) | Download Citation



High-temperature superconductivity in copper oxides occurs when the materials are chemically tuned to have a carrier concentration intermediate between their metallic state at high doping and their insulating state at zero doping. The underlying evolution of the electron system in the absence of superconductivity is still unclear, and a question of central importance is whether it involves any intermediate phase with broken symmetry1. The Fermi surface of the electronic states in the underdoped ‘YBCO’ materials YBa2Cu3Oy and YBa2Cu4O8 was recently shown to include small pockets2,3,4, in contrast with the large cylinder that characterizes the overdoped regime5, pointing to a topological change in the Fermi surface. Here we report the observation of a negative Hall resistance in the magnetic-field-induced normal state of YBa2Cu3Oy and YBa2Cu4O8, which reveals that these pockets are electron-like rather than hole-like. We propose that these electron pockets most probably arise from a reconstruction of the Fermi surface caused by the onset of a density-wave phase, as is thought to occur in the electron-doped copper oxides near the onset of antiferromagnetic order6,7. Comparison with materials of the La2CuO4 family that exhibit spin/charge density-wave order8,9,10,11 suggests that a Fermi surface reconstruction also occurs in those materials, pointing to a generic property of high-transition-temperature (Tc) superconductors.

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We thank N. W. Ashcroft, K. Behnia, L. Brisson, S. Chakravarty, J. C. Davis, R. L. Greene, S. A. Kivelson, G. G. Lonzarich, M. R. Norman, A. J. Schofield, A.-M. S. Tremblay and D. Vignolle for discussions, and J. Corbin and M. Nardone for their help with the experiments. We acknowledge support from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, the LNCMP and the NHMFL, and funding from the NSERC, the FQRNT, the EPSRC and a Canada Research Chair. Part of this work was supported by the French ANR IceNET and EuroMagNET. The NHMFL is supported by an NSF grant and the State of Florida.

Author Contributions D.L. and N.D.-L. contributed equally to this work.

Author information


  1. Département de physique and RQMP, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke J1K 2R1, Canada

    • David LeBoeuf
    • , Nicolas Doiron-Leyraud
    • , R. Daou
    • , J.-B. Bonnemaison
    •  & Louis Taillefer
  2. Laboratoire National des Champs Magnétiques Pulsés (LNCMP), UMR CNRS-UPS-INSA 5147, Toulouse 31400, France

    • Julien Levallois
    •  & Cyril Proust
  3. H. H. Wills Physics Laboratory, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TL, UK

    • N. E. Hussey
  4. National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (NHMFL), Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida 32306, USA

    • L. Balicas
  5. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver V6T 1Z4, Canada

    • B. J. Ramshaw
    • , Ruixing Liang
    • , D. A. Bonn
    •  & W. N. Hardy
  6. Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Toronto M5G 1Z8, Canada

    • Ruixing Liang
    • , D. A. Bonn
    • , W. N. Hardy
    •  & Louis Taillefer
  7. Superconductivity Research Laboratory, International Superconductivity Technology Center, Shinonome 1-10-13, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-0062, Japan

    • S. Adachi


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Correspondence to Cyril Proust or Louis Taillefer.

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