Electronic nematic phases have been proposed to occur in various correlated electron systems and were recently claimed to have been detected in scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) conductance maps of the pseudogap states of the cuprate high-temperature superconductor Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8+δ (Bi-2212). We investigate the influence of anisotropic STM tip structures on such measurements and establish, with a model calculation, the presence of a tunneling interference effect within an STM junction that induces energy-dependent symmetry-breaking features in the conductance maps. We experimentally confirm this phenomenon on different correlated electron systems, including measurements in the pseudogap state of Bi-2212, showing that the apparent nematic behavior of the imaged crystal lattice is likely not due to nematic order but is related to how a realistic STM tip probes the band structure of a material. We further establish that this interference effect can be used as a sensitive probe of changes in the momentum structure of the sample's quasiparticles as a function of energy.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics|
|State||Published - Apr 25 2013|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics