"Formation of Incommensurate Charge Density Waves in Cuprates"

H. Miao: R. Fumagalli, M. Rossi, J. Lorenzana, G. Seibold, F. Yakhou-Harris, K. Kummer, N. B. Brookes, G. D. Gu, L. Braicovich, G. Ghiringhelli, and M. P. M. Dean; Physical Review X, 09/06/19.

Additional Authors: R. Fumagalli, M. Rossi, J. Lorenzana, G. Seibold, F. Yakhou-Harris, K. Kummer, N. B. Brookes, G. D. Gu, L. Braicovich, G. Ghiringhelli, and M. P. M. Dean

Abstract:

Although charge density waves (CDWs) are omnipresent in cuprate high-temperature superconductors, they occur at significantly different wave vectors, confounding efforts to understand their formation mechanism. Here, we use resonant inelastic x-ray scattering to investigate the doping- and temperature-dependent CDW evolution in La2−xBaxCuO4 (x=0.115–0.155). We discover that the CDW develops in two stages with decreasing temperature. A precursor CDW with a quasicommensurate wave vector emerges first at high temperature. This doping-independent precursor CDW correlation originates from the CDW phase mode coupled with a phonon and “seeds” the low-temperature CDW with a strongly doping-dependent wave vector. Our observation reveals the precursor CDW and its phase mode as the building blocks of the highly intertwined electronic ground state in the cuprates.