Algebraic charge liquids

Ribhu K. Kaul, Yong Baek Kim, Subir Sachdev, T. Senthil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


High-temperature superconductivity emerges in the copper oxide compounds on changing the electron density of an insulator in which the electron spins are antiferromagnetically ordered. A key characteristic of the superconductor is that electrons can be extracted from it at zero energy only if their momenta take one of four specific values (the nodal points). A central enigma has been the evolution of those zero-energy electrons in the metallic state between the antiferromagnet and the superconductor, and recent experiments yield apparently contradictory results. The oscillation of the resistance in this metal as a function of magnetic field indicates that the zero-energy electrons carry momenta that lie on elliptical Fermi pockets, whereas ejection of electrons by high-intensity light indicates that the zero-energy electrons have momenta only along arc-like regions, or Fermi arcs. We present a theory of new states of matter, which we call algebraic charge liquids, and which arise naturally between the antiferromagnet and the superconductor, and reconcile these observations. Our theory also explains a puzzling dependence of the density of superconducting electrons on the total electron density, and makes a number of unique predictions for future experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-31
Number of pages4
JournalNature Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank E. Hudson, A. Lanzara, P. Lee, M. Randeria, L. Taillefer, Z. Wang, Z.-Y. Weng and X. Zhou for many useful discussions. This research was supported by the NSF grants DMR-0537077 (S.S. and R.K.K.), DMR-0132874 (R.K.K.), DMR-0541988 (R.K.K.), the NSERC (Y.B.K.), the CIFAR (Y.B.K.) and The Research Corporation (T.S.). Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to T.S.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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