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Nat Commun. 2013;4:2459. doi: 10.1038/ncomms3459.

Disappearance of nodal gap across the insulator-superconductor transition in a copper-oxide superconductor.

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National Laboratory for Superconductivity, Beijing National Laboratory for Condensed Matter Physics, Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China.


The parent compound of the copper-oxide high-temperature superconductors is a Mott insulator. Superconductivity is realized by doping an appropriate amount of charge carriers. How a Mott insulator transforms into a superconductor is crucial in understanding the unusual physical properties of high-temperature superconductors and the superconductivity mechanism. Here we report high-resolution angle-resolved photoemission measurement on heavily underdoped Bi₂Sr₂-xLaxCuO(₆+δ) system. The electronic structure of the lightly doped samples exhibit a number of characteristics: existence of an energy gap along the nodal direction, d-wave-like anisotropic energy gap along the underlying Fermi surface, and coexistence of a coherence peak and a broad hump in the photoemission spectra. Our results reveal a clear insulator-superconductor transition at a critical doping level of ~0.10 where the nodal energy gap approaches zero, the three-dimensional antiferromagnetic order disappears, and superconductivity starts to emerge. These observations clearly signal a close connection between the nodal gap, antiferromagnetism and superconductivity.


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