Electronic structure of the cuprate superconducting and pseudogap phases from spectroscopic imaging STM

A. R. Schmidt, K. Fujita, E-A Kim, M. J. Lawler, H. Eisaki, S. Uchida, D-H Lee, J. C. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


We survey the use of spectroscopic imaging scanning tunneling microscopy (SI-STM) to probe the electronic structure of underdoped cuprates. Two distinct classes of electronic states are observed in both the d-wave superconducting (dSC) and the pseudogap (PG) phases. The first class consists of the dispersive Bogoliubov quasiparticle excitations of a homogeneous d-wave superconductor, existing below a lower energy scale E = Delta(0). We find that the Bogoliubov quasiparticle interference (QPI) signatures of delocalized Cooper pairing are restricted to a k-space arc, which terminates near the lines connecting k = +/-(pi/a(0), 0) to k = +/-(0, pi/a(0)). This arc shrinks continuously with decreasing hole density such that Luttinger's theorem could be satisfied if it represents the front side of a hole-pocket that is bounded behind by the lines between k = +/-(pi/a(0), 0) and k = +/-(0, pi/a(0)). In both phases, the only broken symmetries detected for the vertical bar E vertical bar < Delta(0) states are those of a d-wave superconductor. The second class of states occurs proximate to the PG energy scale E = Delta(1). Here the non-dispersive electronic structure breaks the expected 90 degrees-rotational symmetry of electronic structure within each unit cell, at least down to 180 degrees-rotational symmetry. This electronic symmetry breaking was first detected as an electronic inequivalence at the two oxygen sites within each unit cell by using a measure of nematic (C-2) symmetry. Incommensurate non-dispersive conductance modulations, locally breaking both rotational and translational symmetries, coexist with this intra-unit-cell electronic symmetry breaking at E = Delta(1). Their characteristic wavevector Q is determined by the k-space points where Bogoliubov QPI terminates and therefore changes continuously with doping. The distinct broken electronic symmetry states (intra-unit-cell and finite Q) coexisting at E similar to Delta(1) are found to be indistinguishable in the dSC and PG phases. The next challenge for SI-STM studies is to determine the relationship of the E similar to Delta(1) broken symmetry electronic states with the PG phase, and with the E < Delta(0) states associated with Cooper pairing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number065014
Number of pages32
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2011


  • Spectroscopic imaging scanning tunneling microscopy (SI-STM)
  • Underdoped cuprates
  • D-wave superconducting (dSC)
  • Pseudogap (PG) phases


Dive into the research topics of 'Electronic structure of the cuprate superconducting and pseudogap phases from spectroscopic imaging STM'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this