Detection of a Cooper-pair density wave in Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8+x

M. H. Hamidian, Stephen David Edkins, Sang Hyun Joo, A. Kostin, H. Eisaki, S. Uchida, M. J. Lawler, E. -A. Kim, Andrew P. Mackenzie, K. Fujita, Jinho Lee, J. C. Séamus Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

205 Citations (Scopus)


The quantum condensate of Cooper pairs forming a superconductor was originally conceived as being translationally invariant. In theory, however, pairs can exist with finitemomentum Q, thus generating a state with a spatially modulated Cooper-pair density1,2. Such a state has been created in ultracold 6Li gas3 but never observed directly in any superconductor. It is now widely hypothesized that the pseudogap phase of the copper oxide superconductors contains such a ‘pair density wave’ state5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21. Here we report the use of nanometre-resolution scanned Josephson tunnelling microscopy22,23,24 to image Cooper pair tunnelling from a d-wave superconducting microscope tip to the condensate of the superconductor Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8+x. We demonstrate condensate visualization capabilities directly by using the Cooper-pair density variations surrounding zinc impurity atoms25 and at the Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8+x crystal supermodulation26.Then, by using Fourier analysis of scanned Josephson tunnelling images, we discover the direct signature of a Cooper-pair density modulation at wavevectors QP ≈ (0.25, 0)2π/a0 and (0, 0.25)2π/a0in Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8+x. The amplitude of these modulations is about five per cent of the background condensate density and their form factor exhibits primarily s or s′ symmetry. This phenomenology is consistent with Ginzburg–Landau theory5,13,14 when a charge density wave5,27 with d-symmetry form factor28,29,30 and wavevector QC = QP coexists with a d-symmetry superconductor; it is also predicted by several contemporary microscopic theories for the pseudogap phase18,19,20,21.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-347
Number of pages5
Issue number7599
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2016


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