Correlated-electron theories of superconductivity in layered cuprates often start from the premise of a gapped spin-liquid phase proximate to the superconducting state. This assumption is justified based on analytical and numerical demonstrations of a superconducting Luther-Emery phase in the doped 2-leg one-band Hubbard ladder, and the perceived analogy between coupled ladders and the two-dimensional CuO2 layer. We demonstrate from accurate density matrix renormalization group studies the absence of the superconducting Luther-Emery phase in the doped 2-leg three-band ladder consisting of both copper and oxygen, even as the spin gap is large in the undoped three-band ladder. For realistic oxygen-oxygen hopping and Hubbard repulsion on the oxygen atoms, density-density rather than pairing correlations are dominant at long range. This result is equally valid whether or not the oxygens outside the ladder proper, over and above the rung and leg oxygens, are included in the computation. These results demonstrate the critical importance of oxygen orbitals, and raise disturbing questions about the applicability of many of the existing correlated-electron theories of superconductivity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics