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Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless-like transition in bulk, highly underdoped La2-xSrxCuO4 - Dragana Popović

National High Magnetic Field Laboratory and Department of Physics, Florida State University, USA

In two-dimensional superconductors, the transition to the metallic state takes place via thermal unbinding of vortex-antivortex pairs, as described by the Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless (BKT) theory. The occurrence of the BKT transition in bulk underdoped samples of cuprate superconductors, which are highly anisotropic, layered materials, has been controversial. Therefore, the nature of the superconducting transition in highly underdoped thick films of La2-xSrxCuO4 has been investigated using the in-plane transport measurements. Both the temperature dependence of the paraconductivity above the transition and the nonlinear current-voltage (I-V) characteristics across it exhibit the main signatures of the BKT transition. Moreover, the quantitative comparison of the superfluid stiffness, extracted from the I-V data, with the renormalization-group results for the BKT theory, reveals a large value of the vortex-core energy, strongly suggesting that the relevant length scale controlling the BKT-like transition in this layered material involves a few coupled layers. Finally, measurements of the fluctuations of the resistance with time (i.e. noise) provide evidence for the critical slowing down of the dynamics and the onset of correlated behavior. The details of the observed dynamical critical behavior of the BKT transition and the role of disorder will be discussed.


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