A major challenge in understanding the cuprate superconductors is to clarify the nature of the fundamental electronic correlations that lead to the pseudogap phenomenon. Here we use ultrashort light pulses to prepare a non-thermal distribution of excitations and capture novel properties that are hidden at equilibrium. Using a broadband (0.5-2 eV) probe, we are able to track the dynamics of the dielectric function and unveil an anomalous decrease in the scattering rate of the charge carriers in a pseudogap-like region of the temperature (T) and hole-doping (p) phase diagram. In this region, delimited by a well-defined T*neq(p) line, the photoexcitation process triggers the evolution of antinodal excitations from gapped (localized) to delocalized quasiparticles characterized by a longer lifetime. The novel concept of photo-enhanced antinodal conductivity is naturally explained within the single-band Hubbard model, in which the short-range Coulomb repulsion leads to a k-space differentiation between nodal quasiparticles and antinodal excitations.
- copper oxides
- electron correlations