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Particle–hole asymmetric superconducting coherence peaks in overdoped cuprates

Abstract

As doping increases in cuprate superconductors, the superconducting transition temperature increases to a maximum at the so-called optimal doping, and then decreases in the overdoped regime. In the past few decades, research has primarily focused on the underdoped and optimally doped regions of the phase diagram. Here, phenomena such as the pseudogap and strange metal non-superconducting states make it difficult to determine the superconducting pairing mechanism. More recently, experiments have shown unconventional behaviour in strongly overdoped cuprates, in both the normal and superconducting states. However, a real-space investigation of the unconventional superconductivity in the absence of the pseudogap is lacking, and the superconductor-to-metal phase transition in the overdoped regime remains controversial. Here we use scanning tunnelling microscopy to investigate the atomic-scale electronic structure of overdoped Bi2Sr2Can − 1CunO2n + 4 + δ cuprates. We show that, at low energies, the spectroscopic maps are well described by dispersive d-wave quasiparticle interference patterns. However, as the bias increases to the superconducting coherence peak energy, a periodic and non-dispersive pattern emerges. The position of the coherence peaks exhibits particle–hole asymmetry that modulates with the same period. We propose that this behaviour is due to quasiparticle interference caused by pair-breaking scattering between flat antinodal Bogoliubov bands.

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Fig. 1: Nodal QPI and antinodal symmetry-breaking state in underdoped Bi-2223 (sample 1).
Fig. 2: The \({\sqrt 2 }{{{a}}} \times {\sqrt 2 }{{{a}}}\) modulation in overdoped Bi-2223 (sample 5).
Fig. 3: Particle–hole asymmetric SC coherence peaks in sample 5.
Fig. 4: Universality of the particle–hole asymmetry and its doping evolution.
Fig. 5: Theoretical model of the particle–hole asymmetry involving flat band scattering.

Data availability

The data used to support the findings of this work are available from the corresponding author upon request. Source data are provided with this paper.

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Acknowledgements

We thank T. K. Lee, T. Li, Q. H. Wang, Z. Y. Weng and T. Xiang for helpful discussions. This work was supported by the Basic Science Center Project of NSFC under grant no. 51788104, the MOST of China (grants nos. 2017YFA0302900 and 2016YFA0300300), NSFC grants nos. 11888101 and 11534007, and the Strategic Priority Research Program (B) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDB25000000). D.-H.L. was supported by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, Materials Sciences and Engineering Division, contract no. DE-AC02-05-CH11231 within the Quantum Materials Program (KC2202). D.-H.L. also acknowledges support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s EPIC initiative (grant no. GBMF4545). This work is supported in part by the Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Future Chip (ICFC) and the Tencent Foundation.

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C.Z., Z.H. and Y.W. proposed and designed the research. C.Z., Z.H. and M.X. carried out the STM experiments. C.Z. analysed the data with help from Z.H., P.C., S.Y. and X. Li. C.L. provided the Bi-2223 single crystals. X. Luo and X.Z. performed high-pressure oxygen annealing of Bi-2223 samples. Q.G. and X.Z. grew the Bi-2212 single crystals and performed the post-annealing. D.-H.L. provided theoretical analysis. C.Z., D.-H.L. and Y.W. prepared the manuscript. All authors have read and approved the final version of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Yayu Wang.

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Nature Physics thanks José Lorenzana, Mohammad H. Hamidian and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Zou, C., Hao, Z., Luo, X. et al. Particle–hole asymmetric superconducting coherence peaks in overdoped cuprates. Nat. Phys. 18, 551–557 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41567-022-01534-x

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