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On the Electron Pairing Mechanism of Copper-Oxide High Temperature Superconductivity

On the Electron Pairing Mechanism of Copper-Oxide High Temperature Superconductivity

  • Date 09 Mar 2022
  • Time 15:00 - 16:00
  • Category Seminar

Prof. J.C. Séamus Davis (University of Oxford, University College Cork, Cornell University)

The elementary CuO2 plane sustaining cuprate high temperature superconductivity occurs typically at the base of a periodic array of edge-sharing CuO5 pyramids. Virtual transitions of electrons between adjacent planar Cu and O atoms, occurring at a rate t/ℏ and across the charge-transfer energy gap ε,  generate ‘superexchange’ spin-spin interactions of energy J ≈ 4 t3 in an antiferromagnetic correlated-insulator state. However, hole doping this CuOplane converts this into a very high temperature superconducting state whose electron-pairing is exceptional. A leading proposal for the mechanism of this intense electron-pairing is that, while hole doping destroys magnetic order it preserves pair-forming superexchange interactions governed by the charge-transfer energy scale ε. To explore this hypothesis directly at atomic-scale, we combine single-electron and electron-pair (Josephson) scanning tunneling microscopy to visualize the interplay of ε and the electron-pair density nP in Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8+x.  The responses of both ε and nP to alterations in the distance δ between planar Cu and apical O atoms are then determined. These data reveal the empirical crux of strongly correlated superconductivity in CuO2, the response of the electron-pair condensate to varying the charge transfer energy. Concurrence of predictions from strong-correlation theory for hole-doped charge-transfer insulators with these observations, indicates that charge-transfer superexchange is the electron-pairing mechanism of superconductive Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8+x.

2022 03 09 CM Seminar Seamus Davis

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