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Universality of pseudogap and emergent order in lightly doped Mott insulators

Battisti, I; Bastiaans, KM; Fedoseev, V; de la Torre, A; Iliopoulos, N; Tamai, A; Hunter, EC; ... Allan, MP; + view all (2016) Universality of pseudogap and emergent order in lightly doped Mott insulators. Nature Physics , 13 pp. 21-25. 10.1038/nphys3894. Green open access

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Abstract

It is widely believed that high-temperature superconductivity in the cuprates emerges from doped Mott insulators1. When extra carriers are inserted into the parent state, the electrons become mobile but the strong correlations from the Mott state are thought to survive—inhomogeneous electronic order, a mysterious pseudogap and, eventually, superconductivity appear. How the insertion of dopant atoms drives this evolution is not known, nor is whether these phenomena are mere distractions specific to hole-doped cuprates or represent genuine physics of doped Mott insulators. Here we visualize the evolution of the electronic states of (Sr1−xLax)2IrO4, which is an effective spin-1/2 Mott insulator like the cuprates, but is chemically radically different2, 3. Using spectroscopic-imaging scanning tunnelling microscopy (SI-STM), we find that for a doping concentration of x ≈ 5%, an inhomogeneous, phase-separated state emerges, with the nucleation of pseudogap puddles around clusters of dopant atoms. Within these puddles, we observe the same iconic electronic order that is seen in underdoped cuprates1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. We investigate the genesis of this state and find evidence at low doping for deeply trapped carriers, leading to fully gapped spectra, which abruptly collapse at a threshold of x ≈ 4%. Our results clarify the melting of the Mott state, and establish phase separation and electronic order as generic features of doped Mott insulators.

Type: Article
Title: Universality of pseudogap and emergent order in lightly doped Mott insulators
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/nphys3894
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1038/nphys3894
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Quantum fluids and solids; Superconducting properties and materials
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > London Centre for Nanotechnology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1530739
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