Identification of a Nematic Pair Density Wave State in Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8+x

Kavli Affiliate: J. C. Seamus Davis

| First 5 Authors: Weijiong Chen, Wangping Ren, Niall Kennedy, M. H. Hamidian, S. Uchida

| Summary:

Electron-pair density wave (PDW) states are now an intense focus of research
in the field of cuprate correlated superconductivity. PDWs exhibit periodically
modulating superconductive electron pairing which can be visualized directly
using scanned Josephson tunneling microscopy (SJTM). Although from theory,
intertwining the d-wave superconducting (DSC) and PDW order parameters allows a
plethora of global electron-pair orders to appear, which one actually occurs in
the various cuprates is unknown. Here we use SJTM to visualize the interplay of
PDW and DSC states in Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8+x at a carrier density where the charge
density wave (CDW) modulations are virtually nonexistent. Simultaneous
visualization of their amplitudes reveals that the intertwined PDW and DSC are
mutually attractive states. Then, by separately imaging the electron-pair
density modulations of the two orthogonal PDWs, we discover a robust nematic
PDW state. Its spatial arrangement entails Ising domains of opposite
nematicity, each consisting primarily of unidirectional and lattice
commensurate electron-pair density modulations. Further, we demonstrate by
direct imaging that the scattering resonances identifying Zn impurity atom
sites occur predominantly within boundaries between these domains. This implies
that the nematic PDW state is pinned by Zn atoms, as was recently proposed
(Lozano et al, PHYSICAL REVIEW B 103, L020502 (2021)). Taken in combination,
these data indicate that the PDW in Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8+x is a vestigial nematic pair
density wave state (J. Wardh and M. Granath arXiv:2203.08250v1).

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