Because of its sensitivity to the instantaneous structure factor, S(Q,t = 0), Extended X-ray Absorption Fine Structure (EXAFS) is a powerful tool for probing the dynamic structure of condensed matter systems in which the charge and lattice dynamics are coupled. When applied to hole-doped cuprate superconductors, EXAFS has revealed the presence of internal quantum tunneling polarons (IQTPs). An IQTP arises in EXAFS as a two-site distribution for certain Cu–O pairs, which is also duplicated in inelastic scattering but not observed in standard diffraction measurements. The Cu–Sr pair distribution has been found to be highly anharmonic and strongly correlated to both the IQTPs and to superconductivity, as, for example, in YSr2Cu2.75Mo0.25O7.54 (Tc=84 K). In order to describe such nontrivial, anharmonic charge-lattice dynamics, we have proposed a model Hamiltonian for a prototype six-atom cluster, in which two Cu-apical-O IQTPs are charge-transfer bridged through Cu atoms by an O atom in the CuO2 plane and are anharmonically coupled via a Sr atom. By applying an exact diagonalization procedure to this cluster, we have verified that our model indeed produces an intricate interplay between charge and lattice dynamics. Then, by using the Kuramoto model for the synchronization of coupled quantum oscillators, we have found a first-order phase transition for the IQTPs into a synchronized, phase-locked phase. Most importantly, we have shown that this transition results specifically from the anharmonicity. Finally, we have provided a phase diagram showing the onset of the phase-locking of IQTPs as a function of the charge-lattice and anharmonic couplings in our model. We have found that the charge, initially confined to the apical oxygens, is partially pumped into the CuO2 plane in the synchronized phase, which suggests a possible connection between the synchronized dynamic structure and high-temperature superconductivity (HTSC) in doped cuprates.
Evolution of Charge-Lattice Dynamics across the Kuramoto Synchronization Phase Diagram of Quantum Tunneling Polarons in Cuprate Superconductors / Velasco, V.; Silva Neto, M. B.; Perali, A.; Wimberger, S.; Bishop, A. R.; Conradson, and S. D.. - In: CONDENSED MATTER. - ISSN 2410-3896. - 6:4(2021). [10.3390/condmat6040052]