Welcome to the new version of CaltechAUTHORS. Login is currently restricted to library staff. If you notice any issues, please email coda@library.caltech.edu
Published December 23, 2008 | Published + Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

Direct role of structural dynamics in electron-lattice coupling of superconducting cuprates


The mechanism of electron pairing in high-temperature superconductors is still the subject of intense debate. Here, we provide direct evidence of the role of structural dynamics, with selective atomic motions (buckling of copper–oxygen planes), in the anisotropic electron-lattice coupling. The transient structures were determined using time-resolved electron diffraction, following carrier excitation with polarized femtosecond heating pulses, and examined for different dopings and temperatures. The deformation amplitude reaches 0.5% of the c axis value of 30 Å when the light polarization is in the direction of the copper–oxygen bond, but its decay slows down at 45°. These findings suggest a selective dynamical lattice involvement with the anisotropic electron–phonon coupling being on a time scale (1–3.5 ps depending on direction) of the same order of magnitude as that of the spin exchange of electron pairing in the high-temperature superconducting phase.

Additional Information

© 2008 by The National Academy of Sciences of the USA. Contributed by Ahmed H. Zewail, November 11, 2008 (sent for review October 29, 2008). We thank Dr. Nuh Gedik for his initial contribution to the project; Prof. Nai-Chang Yeh, Dr. Luca Perfetti, Prof. Peter Armitage, Dr. Hajo J. A. Molegraaf, and Erik van Heumen for stimulating discussions; Helmuth Berger (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland) for providing the underdoped sample of Bi2212; and, particularly, Profs. Dirk van der Marel, Petra Rudolf, and Majed Chergui for critical reading of the manuscript and helpful suggestions. Prof. Bengt Nordén brought ref. 43 to our attention. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research in the Gordon and Betty Moore Center for Physical Biology at Caltech. Author contributions: F.C., D.-S.Y., E.G., and A.H.Z. performed research; and F.C., D.-S.Y., and A.H.Z. wrote the paper. The authors declare no conflict of interest. This article contains supporting information online at www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/0811335106/DCSupplemental.

Attached Files

Published - CARpnas08.pdf

Supplemental Material - CARpnas08supp.pdf


Files (1.9 MB)
Name Size Download all
1.5 MB Preview Download
339.2 kB Preview Download

Additional details

August 22, 2023
October 17, 2023