Complex electron interactions underlie the electronic structure of several families of quantum materials. In particular, the strong electron Coulomb repulsion is considered the key ingredient to describing the emergence of exotic and/or ordered phases of quantum matter, from high-temperature superconductivity to charge- and magnetic-order. However, a comprehensive understanding of fundamental electronic properties of quantum materials is often complicated by the appearance of an enigmatic partial suppression of low-energy electronic states, known as the pseudogap. Here we take advantage of ultrafast angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy to unveil the temperature evolution of the low-energy density of states in the electron-doped cuprate Nd2-xCexCuO4, an emblematic system where the pseudogap intertwines with magnetic degrees of freedom. Using an optical excitation we drive the electronic system across the pseudogap onset temperature T*, and we report the direct relation between the momentum-resolved pseudogap spectral features and the spin-correlation length with a remarkable sensitivity. This transient approach, corroborated by mean-field model calculations, allows us to establish the pseudogap in electron-doped cuprates as a precursor to the incipient antiferromagnetic order even when long-range antiferromagnetic correlations are not established, as in the case of optimal doping.
- electron doped cuprates