Evidence for a vestigial nematic state in the cuprate pseudogap phase

Sourin Mukhopadhyay, Rahul Sharma, Chung Koo Kim, Stephen D. Edkins, Mohammad H. Hamidian, Hiroshi Eisaki, Shin ichi Uchida, Eun Ah Kim, Michael J. Lawler, Andrew P. Mackenzie, J. C. Séamus Davis, Kazuhiro Fujita

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50 Scopus citations


The CuO2 antiferromagnetic insulator is transformed by hole-doping into an exotic quantum fluid usually referred to as the pseudogap (PG) phase. Its defining characteristic is a strong suppression of the electronic density-of-states D(E) for energies jEj < Δ*, where Δ* is the PG energy. Unanticipated broken-symmetry phases have been detected by a wide variety of techniques in the PG regime, most significantly a finite-Q density-wave (DW) state and a Q = 0 nematic (NE) state. Sublattice-phase-resolved imaging of electronic structure allows the doping and energy dependence of these distinct broken-symmetry states to be visualized simultaneously. Using this approach, we show that even though their reported ordering temperatures TDW and TNE are unrelated to each other, both the DW and NE states always exhibit their maximum spectral intensity at the same energy, and using independent measurements that this is the PG energy Δ*. Moreover, no new energy-gap opening coincides with the appearance of the DW state (which should theoretically open an energy gap on the Fermi surface), while the observed PG opening coincides with the appearance of the NE state (which should theoretically be incapable of opening a Fermi-surface gap).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13249-13254
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number27
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

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© 2019 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.


  • Broken symmetry
  • Cuprate
  • Density wave
  • Pseudogap
  • Vestigial nematic


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