Electron-Spin Excitation Coupling in an Electron Doped Copper Oxide Superconductor

Physics – Condensed Matter – Superconductivity

Scientific paper

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30 pages, 12 figures, supplementary information included

Scientific paper

10.1038/NPHYS2006

High-temperature (high-Tc) superconductivity in the copper oxides arises from electron or hole doping of their antiferromagnetic (AF) insulating parent compounds. The evolution of the AF phase with doping and its spatial coexistence with superconductivity are governed by the nature of charge and spin correlations and provide clues to the mechanism of high-Tc superconductivity. Here we use a combined neutron scattering and scanning tunneling spectroscopy (STS) to study the Tc evolution of electron-doped superconducting Pr0.88LaCe0.12CuO4-delta obtained through the oxygen annealing process. We find that spin excitations detected by neutron scattering have two distinct modes that evolve with Tc in a remarkably similar fashion to the electron tunneling modes in STS. These results demonstrate that antiferromagnetism and superconductivity compete locally and coexist spatially on nanometer length scales, and the dominant electron-boson coupling at low energies originates from the electron-spin excitations.

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