Electronic nematicity, in which rotational symmetry is spontaneously broken by electronic degrees of freedom, has been demonstrated as a ubiquitous phenomenon in correlated quantum fluids including high-temperature superconductors and quantum Hall systems1,2. Notably, the electronic nematicity in high-temperature superconductors exhibits an intriguing entanglement with superconductivity, generating complicated superconducting pairing and intertwined electronic orders. Recently, an unusual competition between superconductivity and a charge-density-wave (CDW) order has been found in the AV3Sb5 (A = K, Rb, Cs) family with two-dimensional vanadium kagome nets3,4,5,6,7,8. Whether these phenomena involve electronic nematicity is still unknown. Here we report evidence for the existence of electronic nematicity in CsV3Sb5, using a combination of elastoresistance measurements, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and scanning tunnelling microscopy/spectroscopy (STM/S). The temperature-dependent elastoresistance coefficient (m11 minus m12) and NMR spectra demonstrate that, besides a C2 structural distortion of the 2a0 × 2a0 supercell owing to out-of-plane modulation, considerable nematic fluctuations emerge immediately below the CDW transition (approximately 94 kelvin) and finally a nematic transition occurs below about 35 kelvin. The STM experiment directly visualizes the C2-structure-pinned long-range nematic order below the nematic transition temperature, suggesting a novel nematicity described by a three-state Potts model. Our findings indicate an intrinsic electronic nematicity in the normal state of CsV3Sb5, which sets a new paradigm for revealing the role of electronic nematicity on pairing mechanism in unconventional superconductors.
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The code used for STM data analysis is available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.
The data supporting the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request. Source data are provided with this paper.
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We thank K. Jiang, J. He, L. Jiao, X. Liu and V. Madhavan for discussions. We thank J. Jiang for assistance with Laue diffraction measurement. This work is supported by the National Key R&D Program of the MOST of China (grant no. 2017YFA0303000), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant nos 11888101, 12034004, 12074364), the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (grant no. XDB25000000), the Anhui Initiative in Quantum Information Technologies (grant no. AHY160000), the Collaborative Innovation Program of Hefei Science Center, CAS (grant no. 2019HSC-CIP007).
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Nie, L., Sun, K., Ma, W. et al. Charge-density-wave-driven electronic nematicity in a kagome superconductor. Nature 604, 59–64 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-04493-8
Nature Communications (2022)