Topological Defects Coupling Smectic Modulations to Intra-Unit-Cell Nematicity in Cuprates

A. Mesaros, K. Fujita, H. Eisaki, S. Uchida, Seamus Davis, S. Sachdev, J. Zaanen, M. J. Lawler, Eun-Ah Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Citations (Scopus)


We study the coexisting smectic modulations and intra-unit-cell nematicity in the pseudogap states of underdoped Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8+delta. By visualizing their spatial components separately, we identified 2 pi topological defects throughout the phase-fluctuating smectic states. Imaging the locations of large numbers of these topological defects simultaneously with the fluctuations in the intra-unit-cell nematicity revealed strong empirical evidence for a coupling between them. From these observations, we propose a Ginzburg-Landau functional describing this coupling and demonstrate how it can explain the coexistence of the smectic and intra-unit-cell broken symmetries and also correctly predict their interplay at the atomic scale. This theoretical perspective can lead to unraveling the complexities of the phase diagram of cuprate high-critical-temperature superconductors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-430
Number of pages5
Issue number6041
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2011


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