Date: 30 May 2005

Polaron formation as origin of unconventional isotope effects in cuprate superconductors

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Various unconventional isotope effects have been reported in high-temperature superconducting copper oxides which are beyond the scheme of BCS theory. Their origin is investigated within polaron theory which leads to a renormalization of the single particle energies and introduces a level shift here. It is found that the exponential squeezing of the second nearest neighbour hopping integral carries the correct isotope effect on the superconducting transition temperature Tc, as well as the one on the penetration depth. The average superconducting gap is predicted to have an isotope effect comparable to the one on the penetration depth. The results imply that the coupling of the electronic degrees of freedom to the Jahn-Teller Q2-type mode is the origin of these isotope effects.

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