Research ArticleCONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS

Unusual behavior of cuprates explained by heterogeneous charge localization

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Science Advances  25 Jan 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 1, eaau4538
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau4538

Abstract

The discovery of high-temperature superconductivity in cuprates ranks among the major scientific milestones of the past half century, yet pivotal questions regarding the complex phase diagram of these materials remain unanswered. Generally thought of as doped charge-transfer insulators, these complex oxides exhibit pseudogap, strange-metal, superconducting, and Fermi liquid behavior with increasing hole-dopant concentration. Motivated by recent experimental observations, here we introduce a phenomenological model wherein exactly one hole per planar copper-oxygen unit is delocalized with increasing doping and temperature. The model is percolative in nature, with parameters that are highly consistent with experiments. It comprehensively captures key unconventional experimental results, including the temperature and the doping dependence of the pseudogap phenomenon, the strange-metal linear temperature dependence of the planar resistivity, and the doping dependence of the superfluid density. The success and simplicity of the model greatly demystify the cuprate phase diagram and point to a local superconducting pairing mechanism.

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