What is it about?
In this study, we exposed different crystals belonging to the family of high-temperature superconducting cuprates to ultrashort laser light pulses. We observed how some of the materials began to emit a particular type of terahertz (THz) light – a technique known as THz emission spectroscopy. Usually, such emission only occurs in the presence of a magnetic field or polarizing current. However, we probed the cuprates without applying any external bias and discovered ‘anomalous’ THz emission in some of them. Those compounds featured the so-called charge-stripe order, a peculiar ordered phase which is believed to play a role in the mechanism underlying high-temperature superconductivity. Charge stripes are likely to cause a symmetry breaking in the superconductor, the presence of which had not been found by other experimental techniques in the past.
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Why is it important?
Our work provides important new insights into the processes leading to high-temperature superconductivity. It also reveals coherent anomalous THz emission as a sensitive tool to probe the symmetry of superconductors in the presence of other phases. We feel it should be applied to a wider class of compounds in the future, opening up new possibilities for understanding the physics of complex interactions in these materials.
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This page is a summary of: Coherent emission from surface Josephson plasmons in striped cuprates, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 2022, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2211670119.
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