Resonance as a Measure of Pairing Correlations in the High-Tc superconductor YBa₂Cu₃O₆.₆


One of the most striking properties of the high-transition-temperature (high-Tc) superconductors is that they are all derived from insulating antiferromagnetic parent compounds. The intimate relationship between magnetism and superconductivity in these copper oxide materials has intrigued researchers from the outset, because it does not exist in conventional superconductors. Evidence for this link comes from neutron-scattering experiments that show the unambiguous presence of short-range antiferromagnetic correlations (excitations) in the high-Tc superconductors. Even so, the role of such excitations in the pairing mechanism for superconductivity is still a subject of controversy. For YBa2Cu3O(6+x), where x controls the hole-doping level, the most prominent feature in the magnetic excitation spectrum is a sharp resonance (refs 6-11). Here we show that for underdoped YBa2Cu3O(6.6), where x and Tc are below their optimal values, modest magnetic fields suppress the resonance significantly, much more so for fields approximately perpendicular to the CuO2 planes than for parallel fields. Our results indicate that the resonance measures pairing and phase coherence, suggesting that magnetism plays an important role in high-Tc superconductivity. The persistence of a field effect above Tc favours mechanisms in which the superconducting electron pairs are pre-formed in the normal state of underdoped copper oxide superconductors, awaiting transition to the superconducting state.


Materials Science and Engineering

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bilayer membrane; conductor; electric conductivity; magnetic field; magnetic stimulation; neutron scattering; probability

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Article - Journal

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© 2000 Nature Publishing Group, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Aug 2000