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Is the Hidden Electronic Order in the Cuprates neither Hidden nor Ordered?

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Does a hidden ordered electronic state exist in the underdoped pseudogap regime of the cuprate phase diagram? This question has been the focus of intensive research worldwide. But after more than a decade of searches, no long range ordered state has ever been detected there.

Our spectroscopic imaging STM studies of Ca2-xNaxCuO 2Cl2 in that regime do reveal a 4a0X4a0 checkerboard pattern of density-of-state modulations which persists into the low doped superconducting region. But the actual charge density modulation in the checkerboard pattern is negligible.

So, to examine the doped-hole density in Ca2-xNaxCuO 2Cl2 directly, we have recently developed new Mottness imaging techniques . We find atomic-scale variations in hole-density (primarily on the oxygen sites) which have no long range order. Instead it looks like a hole glass with short range 4a0X4a0 correlations. Embedded in this hole glass are more ordered nano-regions of dimensions ~4a0X16a0. It seems plausible that the checkerboard density-of-state modulations are due to scattering of quasiparticles by the Coulomb potential of this 4a0X4a0 correlated hole glass.

I will discuss the relationship of these observations to results from other probes and argue that the electronic state in lightly-doped cuprates has not been hidden, merely overlooked. I will also discuss the likelihood that this type of hole glass is, in fact, the native state of lightly doped cuprates (when dopant disorder is present).

This talk is part of the Theory of Condensed Matter series.

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