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Evolution of charge order topology across a magnetic phase transition in cuprate superconductors

An Author Correction to this article was published on 28 May 2019

This article has been updated


Charge order is now accepted as an integral constituent of cuprate high-temperature superconductors, one that is intimately related to other electronic instabilities including antiferromagnetism and superconductivity1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11. Unlike conventional Peierls density waves, the charge correlations in cuprates have been predicted to display a rich momentum space topology depending on the underlying fermiology12,13,14,15,16,17,18. However, charge order has only been observed along the high-symmetry Cu–O bond directions. Here, using resonant soft X-ray scattering, we investigate the evolution of the full momentum space topology of charge correlations in T′-(Nd,Pr)2CuO4 as a function of electron doping. We report that, when the parent Mott insulator is doped, charge correlations first emerge with full rotational symmetry in momentum space, indicating glassy charge density modulation in real space possibly seeded by local defects. At higher doping levels, the orientation of charge correlations is locked to the Cu–O bond directions, restoring a more conventional long-ranged bidirectional charge order. Through charge susceptibility calculations, we reproduce the evolution in topology of charge correlations across the antiferromagnetic phase boundary and propose a revised phase diagram of T′-Ln2CuO4 with a superconducting region extending toward the Mott limit.

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Fig. 1: Charge correlations in T′-Nd2CuO4 (T′-NCO#1) along the Cu–O bond directions.
Fig. 2: Full momentum–space topology of charge correlations in T′-NCO#1.
Fig. 3: Crossover from Cinf to C4 symmetric charge correlation in electron-doped cuprates.
Fig. 4: Phase diagram of T′-Ln2CuO4.

Data availability

The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

Change history

  • 28 May 2019

    An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.


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The authors are grateful to S. Kivelson, B. Fine, K. M. Shen and D. Hawthorn for insightful discussions. The authors thank L. Ye for support with resistivity measurements. This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1751739. The authors acknowledge the Berlin Electron Storage Ring (BESSY II), the Canadian Light Source and the Advanced Light Source for provision of synchrotron radiation beamtime. Research performed in the Canadian Light Source is funded by the Canada Foundation Innovation, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the University of Saskatchewan, the Government of Saskatchewan, Western Economic Diversification Canada, the National Research Council Canada and the Canada Institutes of Health Research. This research used resources of the Advanced Light Source, which is a DOE Office of Science User Facility under contract no. DE-AC02-05CH11231. M.K. acknowledges a Samsung Scholarship from the Samsung Foundation of Culture. J.P. is financially supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation Early Postdoc Mobility fellowship project no. P2FRP2_171824 and Postdoc Mobility fellowship project no. P400P2_180744. Work by N.B. and J.A. is supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s EPiQS Initiative through Grant GBMF4374. T.D. acknowledges financial support from the Infosys Science foundation under Young investigator Award.

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M.K., J.P., E.S., A.F. and N.B. conducted the RXS experiments and analysed the data with help from M.C., K.Z., A.R., Z.H., S.L. and J.A. E.W., R.S., F.H., P.S. and E.A. maintained the X-ray beamlines and supported RXS experiments. T.D. performed the calculations. Y.K. and H.Y. grew the thin films, performed the transport measurements and analysed the data. R.C. conceived the experiment and directed the project. M.K. and R.C. wrote the manuscript with input from all other co-authors.

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Correspondence to Riccardo Comin.

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Supplementary Table 1, Supplementary Figures 1–7 and Supplementary References 1–14

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Kang, M., Pelliciari, J., Frano, A. et al. Evolution of charge order topology across a magnetic phase transition in cuprate superconductors. Nat. Phys. 15, 335–340 (2019).

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