Atomic scale real-space mapping of holes in YBa2Cu3O6+δ Academic Article uri icon

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  • The high-temperature superconductor YBa2Cu3O(6+δ) consists of two main structural units--a bilayer of CuO2 planes that are central to superconductivity and a CuO(2+δ) chain layer. Although the functional role of the planes and chains has long been established, most probes integrate over both, which makes it difficult to distinguish the contribution of each. Here we use electron energy loss spectroscopy to directly resolve the plane and chain contributions to the electronic structure in YBa2Cu3O6 and YBa2Cu3O7. We directly probe the charge transfer of holes from the chains to the planes as a function of oxygen content, and show that the change in orbital occupation of Cu is large in the chain layer but modest in CuO2 planes, with holes in the planes doped primarily into the O 2p states. These results provide direct insight into the local electronic structure and charge transfers in this important high-temperature superconductor.


  • Gauquelin, N
  • Hawthorn, DG
  • Sawatzky, GA
  • Liang, RX
  • Bonn, DA
  • Hardy, WN
  • Botton, Gianluigi

publication date

  • July 15, 2014