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Title:Charge fluctuations of the strange metal in space and time
Author(s):Husain, Ali Abdullah
Director of Research:Abbamonte, Peter M
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Mahmood, Fahad
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Leggett, Anthony J; Gadway, Bryce
Department / Program:Physics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):strange metal
quantum materials
strongly correlated
energy loss
response function
Abstract:The strange metal is an enigma within the field of many-body quantum physics, as it defies the standard Fermi liquid theory of metals due to the absence of well-defined, electron-like quasiparticles. It has been presumed that strange metal behavior arises due to strong correlations between electrons that are not present in ordinary Fermi liquids, but the exact nature of these correlations is unknown. To this end, this thesis aims to address the fundamental question: What, precisely, is so strongly correlated about charge in the strange metal? This question is tackled by experimentally measuring the dynamic charge response function, which directly encodes charge correlations in momentum and energy, using the technique of Momentum-resolved Electron Energy-loss Spectroscopy (M-EELS). In particular, two prototypical members of the cuprate and ruthenate strange metal families are studied: Bi-2212 and Sr$_2$RuO$_4$. By studying Bi-2212 at optimal doping, it is found that the charge response of the strange metal is characterized by a broad continuum of fluctuations that are momentum and energy independent over a large range of parameter space, unlike Fermi liquid charge correlations which exhibit propagating density waves of charge with well defined energy and momentum (i.e. plasmons). We argue that, in essence, the charge correlations of the strange metal are highly localized in both space and time, unlike the Fermi Liquid where they are localized in momentum and energy instead. To understand how charge correlations change as one leaves the strange metal regime, the M-EELS response of Bi-2212 is mapped out as a function of doping and temperature. At high temperature, it is found that the continuum is largely doping independent. However, upon cooling, very large changes in spectral weight are observed over a range of energy scales nearly two orders of magnitude larger than the thermal scale $k_B T$. Moreover, this change in spectral weight undergoes a sign reversal as a function of doping, with spectral weight enhancement on the underdoped side, suppression in the overdoped regime, and no change at optimal doping. These changes in spectral weight are completely unlike the case of the Fermi liquid, where doping only acts to rigidly shift the plasmon energy and no significant changes occur as a function of temperature. Finally, we venture further and ask whether strange metal and Fermi liquid charge correlations can simultaneously coexist in a material. To explore this possibility, we measured the M-EELS response of Sr$_2$RuO$_4$, a material which exhibits strange and bad metal behavior at high temperature, but transitions to a well-defined Fermi liquid at low temperature. Surprisingly, in the strange metal regime, Sr$_2$RuO$_4$ exhibits both a broad continuum similar to Bi-2212 and a propagating Fermi liquid collective mode at low-energies and momentum. Upon cooling, low-energy spectral weight is suppressed in the strange metal continuum and the Fermi liquid collective mode velocity is strongly renormalized. These findings confirm the strange metal and Fermi liquid can coexist and demonstrate that Sr$_2$RuO$_4$ exhibits charge correlations with strange metal character at high energies and short length scales and Fermi liquid character at low energies and long wavelengths.
Issue Date:2020-06-25
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Ali Husain
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-10-07
Date Deposited:2020-08

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