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Science. 2011 Mar 25;331(6024):1579-83. doi: 10.1126/science.1198415.

From a single-band metal to a high-temperature superconductor via two thermal phase transitions.

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  • 1Geballe Laboratory for Advanced Materials, Departments of Physics and Applied Physics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


The nature of the pseudogap phase of cuprate high-temperature superconductors is a major unsolved problem in condensed matter physics. We studied the commencement of the pseudogap state at temperature T* using three different techniques (angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy, polar Kerr effect, and time-resolved reflectivity) on the same optimally doped Bi2201 crystals. We observed the coincident, abrupt onset at T* of a particle-hole asymmetric antinodal gap in the electronic spectrum, a Kerr rotation in the reflected light polarization, and a change in the ultrafast relaxational dynamics, consistent with a phase transition. Upon further cooling, spectroscopic signatures of superconductivity begin to grow close to the superconducting transition temperature (T(c)), entangled in an energy-momentum-dependent manner with the preexisting pseudogap features, ushering in a ground state with coexisting orders.

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