Identifying what broken symmetries are present in the cuprates has become a major area of research. Many authors have reported evidence for so-called "Q ∼ 0"order that involves broken inversion, mirror, chiral, or time-reversal symmetry that is uniform in space. Not all these observations are well understood and new experimental probes are needed. Here we use resonant soft x-ray scattering (RSXS) to search for Q ∼ 0 order in Bi2.1Sr1.9CaCu2O8+x (Bi-2212) by measuring the region of a forbidden Bragg peak, 0; 0; 3 , which is normally extinguished by symmetry but may become allowed on resonance if valence band order is present. Using circularly polarized light, we found that this reflection becomes allowed on the Cu L3 resonance for temperatures Tc < T < T+, though remains absent in linear polarization and at other temperatures. This observation suggests the existence of spatially uniform valence band order near the pseudogap temperature. In addition, we observed periodic oscillations in the specular reflectivity from the sample surface that resemble thin film interference fringes, though no known film is present. These fringes are highly resonant, appear in all polarizations, and exhibit a period that depends on the location where the beam strikes the sample surface. We speculate that these fringes arise from interaction between some intrinsic valence band instability and extrinsic structural surface morphologies of the material. Our study supports the existence of some kind of Q ∼ 0 broken symmetry state in Bi-2212 at intermediate temperatures. Further studies using a microfocused beam, which could disentangle microscopic effects from macroscopic heterogeneities, are needed to ascertain the universality of the effect.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)