Phase-resolved Higgs response in superconducting cuprates

April 20, 2020

In high-energy physics, the Higgs field couples to gauge bosons and fermions and gives mass to their elementary excitations. Experimentally, such couplings can be inferred from the decay product of the Higgs boson, i.e., the scalar (amplitude) excitation of the Higgs field. In superconductors, Cooper pairs bear a close analogy to the Higgs field. Interaction between the Cooper pairs and other degrees of freedom provides dissipation channels for the amplitude mode, which may reveal important information about the microscopic pairing mechanism.

The scientists from MPI FKF (Stuttgart), as part of an international collaborative project, investigated the Higgs (amplitude) mode of several cuprate thin films using phase-resolved terahertz third harmonic generation (THG). In addition to the heavily damped Higgs mode itself, they observed an universal jump in the phase of the driven Higgs oscillation as well as a non-vanishing THG above Tc. These findings indicate coupling of the Higgs mode to other collective modes and potentially a nonzero pairing amplitude above Tc.

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