Letter | Published:

Hidden magnetic excitation in the pseudogap phase of a high-Tc superconductor

Nature volume 468, pages 283285 (11 November 2010) | Download Citation

Abstract

The elucidation of the pseudogap phenomenon of the high-transition-temperature (high-Tc) copper oxides—a set of anomalous physical properties below the characteristic temperature T* and above Tc—has been a major challenge in condensed matter physics for the past two decades1. Following initial indications of broken time-reversal symmetry in photoemission experiments2, recent polarized neutron diffraction work demonstrated the universal existence of an unusual magnetic order below T* (refs 3, 4). These findings have the profound implication that the pseudogap regime constitutes a genuine new phase of matter rather than a mere crossover phenomenon. They are furthermore consistent with a particular type of order involving circulating orbital currents, and with the notion that the phase diagram is controlled by a quantum critical point5. Here we report inelastic neutron scattering results for HgBa2CuO4+δ that reveal a fundamental collective magnetic mode associated with the unusual order, and which further support this picture. The mode’s intensity rises below the same temperature T* and its dispersion is weak, as expected for an Ising-like order parameter6. Its energy of 52–56 meV renders it a new candidate for the hitherto unexplained ubiquitous electron–boson coupling features observed in spectroscopic studies7,8,9,10.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1.

    , & The pseudogap: friend or foe of high Tc? Adv. Phys. 54, 715–733 (2005)

  2. 2.

    et al. Spontaneous breaking of time-reversal symmetry in the pseudogap state of a high-Tc superconductor. Nature 416, 610–613 (2002)

  3. 3.

    et al. Magnetic order in the pseudogap phase of high-Tc superconductors. Phys. Rev. Lett. 96, 197001 (2006)

  4. 4.

    et al. Unusual magnetic order in the pseudogap region of the superconductor HgBa2CuO4+δ. Nature 455, 372–375 (2008)

  5. 5.

    Non-Fermi-liquid states and pairing instability of a general model of copper oxide metals. Phys. Rev. B 55, 14554–14580 (1997)

  6. 6.

    Theory of the pseudogap state of the cuprates. Phys. Rev. B 73, 155113 (2006)

  7. 7.

    et al. Evidence for ubiquitous strong electron-phonon coupling in high-temperature superconductors. Nature 412, 510–514 (2001)

  8. 8.

    et al. Exchange boson dynamics in cuprates: optical conductivity of HgBa2CuO4+δ. Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 027003 (2009)

  9. 9.

    et al. Optical determination of the relation between the electron-boson coupling function and the critical temperature in high-Tc cuprates. Phys. Rev. B 79, 184512 (2009)

  10. 10.

    et al. Interplay of electron-lattice interactions and superconductivity in Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8+δ. Nature 442, 546–550 (2006)

  11. 11.

    et al. Crystal growth and characterization of the model high-temperature superconductor HgBa2CuO4+δ. Adv. Mater. 18, 3243–3247 (2006)

  12. 12.

    et al. Demonstrating the model nature of the high-temperature superconductor HgBa2CuO4+δ. Phys. Rev. B 78, 054518 (2008)

  13. 13.

    et al. Effect of chemical inhomogeneity in bismuth-based copper oxide superconductors. Phys. Rev. B 69, 064512 (2004)

  14. 14.

    et al. Two energy scales in the spin excitations of the high-temperature superconductor La2-xSrxCuO4. Nature Phys. 3, 163–167 (2007)

  15. 15.

    et al. Spin dynamics in the pseudogap state of a high-temperature superconductor. Nature Phys. 3, 780–785 (2007)

  16. 16.

    et al. Neutron scattering study of the YBa2Cu3O6+x system. Physica C 185–189, 86–92 (1991)

  17. 17.

    et al. Magnetic resonance in the model high-temperature superconductor HgBa2CuO4+δ. Phys. Rev. B 81, 064518 (2010)

  18. 18.

    et al. Quantum magnetic excitations from stripes in copper oxide superconductors. Nature 429, 534–538 (2004)

  19. 19.

    et al. Resonant magnetic excitations at high energy in superconducting YBa2Cu3O6.85. Phys. Rev. Lett. 93, 167001 (2004)

  20. 20.

    et al. Microwave measurements of the in-plane and c-axis conductivity in HgBa2CuO4+δ: discriminating between superconducting fluctuations and pseudogap effects. Phys. Rev. B 80, 094511 (2009)

  21. 21.

    & The electronic nature of high temperature cuprate superconductors. Rep. Prog. Phys. 66, 1547–1610 (2003)

  22. 22.

    & Chiral plaquette polaron theory of cuprate superconductivity. Phys. Rev. B 76, 014514 (2007)

  23. 23.

    et al. Orbital currents in extended Hubbard models of high-Tc cuprate superconductors. Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 017005 (2009)

  24. 24.

    , & Electronic liquid-crystal phases of a doped Mott insulator. Nature 393, 550–553 (1998)

  25. 25.

    Quantum criticality: competing ground states in low dimensions. Science 288, 475–480 (2000)

  26. 26.

    et al. Hidden order in the cuprates. Phys. Rev. B 63, 094503 (2001)

  27. 27.

    & Detection and implications of a time-reversal breaking state in underdoped cuprates. Phys. Rev. Lett. 89, 247003 (2002)

  28. 28.

    et al. The structure of the high-energy spin excitations in a high-transition-temperature superconductor. Nature 429, 531–534 (2004)

  29. 29.

    , & Thermoelectric power and resistivity of HgBa2CuO4+δ over a wide doping range. Phys. Rev. B 63, 024504 (2000)

Download references

Acknowledgements

We thank T. H. Geballe, S. A. Kivelson, E. M. Motoyama and C. M. Varma for discussions. This work was supported by the US Department of Energy and the US National Science Foundation, and by the National Natural Science Foundation, China. Y.L. acknowledges support from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation during the final stage of completing the manuscript.

Author information

Author notes

    • Yuan Li
    •  & N. Barišić

    Present addresses: Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany (Y.L.); Institute of Physics, Bijenicka cesta 46, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia (N.B.).

Affiliations

  1. Department of Physics, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA

    • Yuan Li
  2. Laboratoire Léon Brillouin, CEA-CNRS, CEA-Saclay, 91191 Gif sur Yvette, France

    • V. Balédent
    • , Y. Sidis
    •  & P. Bourges
  3. School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA

    • G. Yu
    •  & M. Greven
  4. T.H. Geballe Laboratory for Advanced Materials, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA

    • N. Barišić
    •  & X. Zhao
  5. 1. Physikalisches Institut, Universität Stuttgart, 70550 Stuttgart, Germany

    • N. Barišić
  6. Institut für Physikalische Chemie, Universität Göttingen, 37077 Göttingen, Germany

    • K. Hradil
  7. Forschungsneutronenquelle Heinz Maier-Leibnitz, 85747 Garching, Germany

    • R. A. Mole
  8. Institut Laue Langevin, 38042 Grenoble Cedex 9, France

    • P. Steffens
  9. State Key Laboratory of Inorganic Synthesis and Preparative Chemistry, College of Chemistry, Jilin University, Changchun 130012, China

    • X. Zhao

Authors

  1. Search for Yuan Li in:

  2. Search for V. Balédent in:

  3. Search for G. Yu in:

  4. Search for N. Barišić in:

  5. Search for K. Hradil in:

  6. Search for R. A. Mole in:

  7. Search for Y. Sidis in:

  8. Search for P. Steffens in:

  9. Search for X. Zhao in:

  10. Search for P. Bourges in:

  11. Search for M. Greven in:

Contributions

M.G., P.B. and Y.L. planned the project. Y.L., V.B. and G.Y. performed the neutron scattering experiments. Y.L., N.B. and X.Z. characterized and prepared the samples. N.B. performed the resistivity measurements. P.S., R.A.M., K.H., Y.S. and P.B. were local contacts for the neutron scattering experiments. Y.L. and M.G. analysed the data and wrote the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to M. Greven.

Supplementary information

PDF files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Information

    This file contains a Supplementary Discussion in 9 sections, Supplementary Data, additional references and Supplementary Figures 1-8 with legends.

About this article

Publication history

Received

Accepted

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nature09477

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.