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Phys Rev Lett. 2003 Jul 25;91(4):047001. Epub 2003 Jul 23.

Influence of pair breaking and phase fluctuations on disordered high Tc cuprate superconductors.

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SPEC, Orme des Merisiers, CEA, 91191 Gif sur Yvette Cedex, France.


Electron irradiation has been used to introduce point defects in a controlled way in underdoped and optimally doped YBa(2)Cu(3)O(7-delta) crystals. This technique allows us to perform very accurate measurements of T(c) and of the ab plane resistivity in a wide range of defect contents x(d) down to T(c)=0. The variation of T(c) and of the transition width with x(d) do not follow current predictions of pair-breaking theories. The data are rather compatible, at least for the highly damaged regime, with the expected influence of phase fluctuations. These results open new questions about the evolution of the defect induced T(c) depression over the phase diagram of the cuprates.

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