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Measurement of the dynamic charge response of materials using low-energy, momentum-resolved electron energy-loss spectroscopy (M-EELS)

Sean Vig, Anshul Kogar, Matteo Mitrano, Ali A. Husain, Vivek Mishra, Melinda S. Rak, Luc Venema, Peter D. Johnson, Genda D. Gu, Eduardo Fradkin, Michael R. Norman, Peter Abbamonte

SciPost Phys. 3, 026 (2017) · published 6 October 2017


One of the most fundamental properties of an interacting electron system is its frequency- and wave-vector-dependent density response function, $\chi({\bf q},\omega)$. The imaginary part, $\chi''({\bf q},\omega)$, defines the fundamental bosonic charge excitations of the system, exhibiting peaks wherever collective modes are present. $\chi$ quantifies the electronic compressibility of a material, its response to external fields, its ability to screen charge, and its tendency to form charge density waves. Unfortunately, there has never been a fully momentum-resolved means to measure $\chi({\bf q},\omega)$ at the meV energy scale relevant to modern electronic materials. Here, we demonstrate a way to measure $\chi$ with quantitative momentum resolution by applying alignment techniques from x-ray and neutron scattering to surface high-resolution electron energy-loss spectroscopy (HR-EELS). This approach, which we refer to here as ``M-EELS" allows direct measurement of $\chi''({\bf q},\omega)$ with meV resolution while controlling the momentum with an accuracy better than a percent of a typical Brillouin zone. We apply this technique to finite-{\bf q} excitations in the optimally-doped high temperature superconductor, Bi$_2$Sr$_2$CaCu$_2$O$_{8+x}$ (Bi2212), which exhibits several phonons potentially relevant to dispersion anomalies observed in ARPES and STM experiments. Our study defines a path to studying the long-sought collective charge modes in quantum materials at the meV scale and with full momentum control.

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Angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) Charge density waves Dynamical structure factors High-temperature (High Tc) superconductors Momentum-resolved electron energy-loss spectroscopy (M-EELS) Neutron scattering Scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) Screening Superconductivity/superconductors X-ray scattering

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