Direct phase-sensitive identification of a d-form factor density wave in underdoped cuprates

Kazuhiro Fujita, Mohammad H. Hamidian, Stephen D. Edkins, Chung Koo Kim, Yuhki Kohsaka, Masaki Azuma, Mikio Takano, Hidenori Takagi, Hiroshi Eisaki, Shin Ichi Uchida, Andrea Allais, Michael J. Lawler, Eun Ah Kim, Subir Sachdev, J. C. Séamus Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

191 Scopus citations


The identity of the fundamental broken symmetry (if any) in the underdoped cuprates is unresolved. However, evidence has been accumulating that this state may be an unconventional density wave. Here we carry out site-specific measurements within each CuO2 unit cell, segregating the results into three separate electronic structure images containing only the Cu sites [Cu(r)] and only the x/y axis O sites [Ox (r) and Oy( r)]. Phase-resolved Fourier analysis reveals directly that the modulations in the Ox(r) and Oy(r) sublattice images consistently exhibit a relative phase of π. We confirm this discovery on two highly distinct cuprate compounds, ruling out tunnel matrix-element and materials-specific systematics. These observations demonstrate by direct sublattice phaseresolved visualization that the density wave found in underdoped cuprates consists of modulations of the intraunit-cell states that exhibit a predominantly d-symmetry form factor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E3026-E3032
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number30
StatePublished - 2014


  • Broken symmetry
  • Density-wave form factor


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