Tendencies toward nematic order in YBa2Cu3O6+δ: Uniform distortion vs. incipient charge stripes
Institut für Theoretische Physik, Universität zu Köln, Zülpicher Straße 77, 50937 Köln, Germany
Revised: 12 August 2010
Published online: 11 October 2010
Recent neutron scattering and transport data obtained on underdoped YBa2Cu3O6+δ, with strong signatures of rotation symmetry breaking at low temperatures, point toward electron-nematic order in the charge sector. Such order may originate from a uniform distortion with d-wave symmetry or as a precursor of a uni-directional stripe phase. Here, we discuss whether the neutron scattering data can be linked to incipient charge stripes. We employ and extend a phenomenological model for collective spin and charge fluctuations and analyze the resulting spin excitation spectrum under the influence of lattice anisotropies. Our results show that the experimentally observed temperature-dependent magnetic incommensurability is compatible with a scenario of incipient stripes, the temperature dependence being due to the temperature variation of both strength and correlation length of the charge stripes. Finally, we propose further experiments to distinguish the possible theoretical scenarios.
© EDP Sciences, Springer-Verlag, 2010