# Scanning Tunnelling Microscopy Imaging of Symmetry-breaking Structural Distortion in the Bismuth-based Cuprate Superconductors

 Title: Scanning Tunnelling Microscopy Imaging of Symmetry-breaking Structural Distortion in the Bismuth-based Cuprate Superconductors Author: Zeljkovic, Ilija; Main, Elizabeth J.; Williams, Tess Lawanna; Boyer, M. C.; Chatterjee, Kamalesh; Wise, W. D.; Yin, Yi; Zech, Martin; Pivonka, Adam Edward; Kondo, Takeshi; Takeuchi, T.; Ikuta, Hiroshi; Wen, Jinsheng; Xu, Zhijun; Gu, G. D.; Hoffman, Jenny Eve Note: Order does not necessarily reflect citation order of authors. Citation: Zeljkovic, Illija, Elizabeth J. Main, Tess L. Williams, M. C. Boyer, Kamalesh Chatterjee, W. D. Wise, Yi Yin, et al. Forthcoming. Scanning tunnelling microscopy imaging of symmetry-breaking structural distortion in the bismuth-based cuprate superconductors. Nature Materials. Full Text & Related Files: Zeljkovic_NatMat_2012.pdf (874.6Kb; PDF) Abstract: A complicating factor in unravelling the theory of high-temperature (high-$$T_c$$) superconductivity is the presence of a ‘pseudogap’ in the density of states, the origin of which has been debated since its discovery. Some believe the pseudogap is a broken symmetry state distinct from superconductivity whereas others believe it arises from short-range correlations without symmetry breaking. A number of broken symmetries have been imaged and identified with the pseudogap state, but it remains crucial to disentangle any electronic symmetry breaking from the pre-existing structural symmetry of the crystal. We use scanning tunnelling microscopy to observe an orthorhombic structural distortion across the cuprate superconducting $$Bi_{2}Sr_{2}Ca_{n−1}Cu_{n}O_{2n+4+x}$$ (BSCCO) family tree, which breaks two-dimensional inversion symmetry in the surface BiO layer. Although this inversion-symmetry-breaking structure can impact electronic measurements, we show from its insensitivity to temperature, magnetic field and doping, that it cannot be the long-sought pseudogap state. To detect this picometre-scale variation in lattice structure, we have implemented a new algorithm that will serve as a powerful tool in the search for broken symmetry electronic states in cuprates, as well as in other materials. Published Version: doi:10.1038/nmat3315 Other Sources: http://arxiv.org/abs/1104.4342 Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:8784321 Downloads of this work: