Scale invariance as the cause of the superconducting dome in the cuprates

Zhidong Leong, Kridsanaphong Limtragool, Chandan Setty, Philip W. Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent photoemission spectroscopy measurements (T. J. Reber et al., arXiv:1509.01611) of cuprate superconductors have inferred that the self-energy exhibits critical scaling over an extended doping regime, thereby calling into question the conventional wisdom that critical scaling exists only at isolated points. In particular, this new state of matter, dubbed a power-law liquid, has a self-energy whose imaginary part scales as Σ′′∼(ω2+π2T2)α, with α=1 in the overdoped Fermi-liquid state and α≤0.5 in the optimal to underdoped regime. Previously, we showed that this self-energy can arise from interactions between electrons and unparticles, a scale-invariant sector that naturally emerges from strong correlations. Here, taking the self-energy as a given, we first reconstruct the real part of the self-energy. We find that the resultant quasiparticle weight vanishes for any doping level less than optimal, implying an absence of particlelike excitations in the underdoped regime. Consequently, the Fermi velocity vanishes and the effective mass diverges for α≤12, in agreement with earlier experimental observations. We then use the self-energy to reconstruct the spectral function and compute the superconducting Tc within the BCS formalism. We find that the Tc has a domelike structure, implying that broad scale invariance manifested in the form of a power-law liquid is the likely cause of the superconducting dome in the cuprates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number184501
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number18
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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