C. C. Homes, M. Huecker, Q. Li, Z. J. Xu, J. S. Wen, G. D. Gu, J. M. Tranquada


The optical properties the high-temperature superconductor La{2-x}Ba{x}CuO{4} have been measured over a wide frequency and temperature range for light polarized in the a-b planes and along the c axis. Three different Ba concentrations have been examined, x=0.095 with a critical temperature T_c=32 K, x=0.125 with T_c ~ 2.4 K, and x=0.145 with T_c ~ 24 K. The in-plane behavior of the optical conductivity for these materials at high temperature is described by a Drude-like response with a scattering rate that decreases with temperature. Below T_c in the x=0.095 and 0.145 materials there is a clear signature of the formation of a SC state in the optical properties allowing the strength of the condensate (\rho_{s0}) and the penetration depth to be determined. In the anomalous 1/8 phase, some spectral weight shifts from lower to higher frequency (above 300 cm^{-1}) on cooling below the spin-ordering temperature T_{so} ~ 42 K, associated with the onset of spin-stripe order; we discuss alternative interpretations in terms of a conventional density-wave gap versus the response to pair-density-wave SC. The disappearance of the low-frequency spectral weight at low temperature may indicate the formation of a 2D SC state below the Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless transition at about 16 K prior to the onset of bulk 3D SC. The two dopings for which a SC response is observed both fall on the universal scaling line \rho_{s0}/8 ~ 4.4 \sigma_{dc} T_c. The optical properties for light polarized along the c axis reveal an insulating character dominated by lattice vibrations, superimposed on a weak electronic background. In the x=0.095 and 0.145 materials a Josephson plasma edge is observed in the reflectance below T_c. No Josephson plasma edge is observed in the 1/8 phase, suggesting that the presence of charge and spin order frustrates the formation of a supercurrent and bulk 3D SC.