"Kerr effect as evidence of gyrotropic order in the cuprates"

Pavan Hosur: A. Kapitulnik, S. A. Kivelson, J. Orenstein and S. Raghu; Physical Review B, 03/11/13.

Additional Authors: A. Kapitulnik, S. A. Kivelson, J. Orenstein and S. Raghu

Abstract:

The Kerr effect can arise in a time-reversal invariant dissipative medium that is “gyrotropic,” i.e., one that breaks inversion (I) and all mirror symmetries. Examples of such systems include electron analogs of cholesteric liquid crystals and their descendants, such as systems with chiral charge ordering. We present arguments that the striking Kerr onset seen in the pseudogap phase of a large number of cuprate high-temperature superconductors is an evidence of chiral charge ordering. We discuss additional experimental consequences of a phase transition to a gyrotropic state, including the appearance of a zero-field Nernst effect.