Amperean Pairing and the Pseudogap Phase of Cuprate Superconductors
Author(s)Lee, Patrick A.
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The enigmatic pseudogap phase in underdoped cuprate high-T[subscript c] superconductors has long been recognized as a central puzzle of the T[subscript c] problem. Recent data show that the pseudogap is likely a distinct phase, characterized by a medium range and quasistatic charge ordering. However, the origin of the ordering wave vector and the mechanism of the charge order is unknown. At the same time, earlier data show that precursive superconducting fluctuations are also associated with this phase. We propose that the pseudogap phase is a novel pairing state where electrons on the same side of the Fermi surface are paired, in strong contrast with conventional Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer theory which pairs electrons on opposite sides of the Fermi surface. In this state the Cooper pair carries a net momentum and belongs to a general class called pair density wave. The microscopic pairing mechanism comes from a gauge theory formulation of the resonating valence bond (RVB) picture, where spinons traveling in the same direction feel an attractive force in analogy with Ampere’s effects in electromagnetism. We call this Amperean pairing. Charge order automatically appears as a subsidiary order parameter even when long-range pair order is destroyed by phase fluctuations. Our theory gives a prediction of the ordering wave vector which is in good agreement with experiment. Furthermore, the quasiparticle spectrum from our model explains many of the unusual features reported in photoemission experiments. The Fermi arc, the unusual way the tip of the arc terminates, and the relation of the spanning vector of the arc tips to the charge ordering wave vector also come out naturally. Finally, we propose an experiment that can directly test the notion of Amperean pairing.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Physics
Physical Review X
American Physical Society
Lee, Patrick A. "Amperean Pairing and the Pseudogap Phase of Cuprate Superconductors." Phys. Rev. X 4, 031017 (July 2014).
Final published version