Fluctuating charge-density waves in a cuprate superconductor

Darius H. Torchinsky, Fahad Mahmood, Anthony T. Bollinger, Ivan Božović, Nuh Gedik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cuprate materials hosting high-temperature superconductivity (HTS) also exhibit various forms of charge and spin ordering whose significance is not fully understood. So far, static charge-density waves (CDWs) have been detected by diffraction probes only at particular doping levels or in an applied external field. However, dynamic CDWs may also be present more broadly and their detection, characterization and relationship with HTS remain open problems. Here we present a method based on ultrafast spectroscopy to detect the presence and measure the lifetimes of CDW fluctuations in cuprates. In an underdoped La 1.9Sr0.1CuO4 film (Tc = 26 K), we observe collective excitations of CDW that persist up to 100 K. This dynamic CDW fluctuates with a characteristic lifetime of 2 ps at T=5 K that decreases to 0.5 ps at T=100 K. In contrast, in an optimally doped La1.84Sr 0.16CuO4 film (Tc =38.5 K), we detect no signatures of fluctuating CDWs at any temperature, favouring the competition scenario. This work forges a path for studying fluctuating order parameters in various superconductors and other materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-391
Number of pages5
JournalNature Materials
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • General Materials Science
  • General Chemistry


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