Emergence of superconductivity from the dynamically heterogeneous insulating state in La2−xSrxCuO4

Authors: Xiaoyan Shi, G. Logvenov, A. T. Bollinger, I. Božović, C. Panagopoulos & Dragana Popović

Published in: Nature Materials (Advance Online Publication) Printed version: Nature Materials 12, 47, 2013.

A central issue for copper oxides is the nature of the insulating ground state at low carrier densities and the emergence of high-temperature superconductivity from that state with doping. Even though this superconductor–insulator transition (SIT) is a zero-temperature transition, measurements are not usually carried out at low temperatures. Here we use magnetoresistance to probe both the insulating state at very low temperatures and the presence of superconducting fluctuations in La2−xSrxCuO4 films, for doping levels that range from the insulator to the superconductor (x  =  0.03–0.08). We observe that the charge glass behaviour, characteristic of the insulating state, is suppressed with doping, but it coexists with superconducting fluctuations that emerge already on the insulating side of the SIT. The unexpected quenching of the superconducting fluctuations by the competing charge order at low temperatures provides a new perspective on the mechanism for the SIT.

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DOI: 10.1038/NMAT3487