## 74.72.-h Cuprate superconductors (high-<i>T</i><sub><i>c</i></sub> and insulating parent compounds)

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A general theory for all classes of unconventional superconductors is still one of the unsolved key issues in condensed-matter physics. Actually, it is not yet fully settled if there is a common underlying pairing mechanism. Instead, it might be possible that several distinct sources for unconventional (not phonon-mediated) superconductivity have to be considered, or an electron-phonon interaction is not negligible. The focus of this thesis is on the most probable mechanism for the formation of Cooper pairs in unconventional superconductors, namely a strictly electronic one where spin fluctuations are the mediators. Studying different superconductors in this thesis, the emphasis is put on material-independent features of the pairing mechanism. In addition, the investigation of the phase diagrams enables a view on the vicinity of superconductivity. Thus, it is possible to clarify which competing quantum fluctuations enhance or weaken the propensity for a superconducting state. The broad range of superconducting materials requires the use of more than one numerical technique to study an appropriate microscopic description. This is not a problem but a big advantage because this facilitates the approach-independent description of common underlying physics. For this evaluation, the strongly correlated cuprates are simulated with the variational cluster approach. Especially the question of a pairing glue is taken into consideration. Furthermore, it is possible to distinguish between retarded and non-retarded contributions to the gap function. The cuprates are confronted with the cobaltate NaCoO and graphene. These weakly correlated materials are investigated with the functional renormalization group (fRG) and reveal a comprehensive phase diagram, including a d+id-wave superconductivity, which breaks time-reversal symmetry. The corresponding gap function is nodeless, but for NaCoO, it features a doping-dependent anisotropy. In addition, some general considerations on the kagome lattice are completing the discussion, where a sublattice interference dramatically affects the Fermi-surface instabilities, suppressing the usual spin-density wave and d+id-wave superconductivity. Thereby, some different fascinating charge and bond orders as well as a nematic are observable. In short, this thesis provides an insight to distinct classes of unconventional superconductors with appropriate simulation techniques. This facilitates to separate the material specific properties from the universal ones.

This thesis contains two major parts: The first part introduces the reader into three independent concepts of treating strongly correlated many body physics. These are, on the analytical side the SO(5)-theory (Chap.3), which poses the general frame. On the numerical side these are the Stochastic Series Expansion (SSE) (Chap.1) and the Contractor Renormalization Group (CORE) approach (Chap. 2}). The central idea of this thesis was to combine these above concepts, in order to achieve a better understanding of the high-T_c superconductors (HTSC). The results obtained by this combination can be found in the second major part of this thesis (chapters 4 and 5). The main idea of this thesis, i.e., to combine the SO(5)-theory with the capabilities of bosonic Quantum-Monte Carlo simulations and those of the CORE approach, has been proven to be a very successful Ansatz. Two different approaches, one based on symmetry and one on renormalization-group arguments, motivate an effective bosonic Hamiltonian. In a subsequent step the effective Hamiltonian has been simulated efficiently using the SSE. The results reproduce salient experiments on high-T_c superconductors. In addition, it has been shown that the model can be extended to capture also charge ordering. These results also form a profound basis for further studies, for example one could address the open question of SO(5)-symmetry restoration at a multicritical point in the extended pSO(5) model, where longer ranged interactions are included.

In this thesis, a phenomenological phase-fluctuation model for the pseudogap regime of the underdoped cuprates was discussed. The key idea of the phase-fluctuation scenario in the high-T_c superconductors is the notion that the pseudogap observed in a wide variety of experiments arises from phase fluctuations of the superconducting gap. In this scenario, below a mean-field temperature scale T_c^{MF}, a d_{x^2-y^2}-wave gap amplitude is assumed to develop. However, the superconducting transition is suppressed to a considerably lower transition temperature T_c by phase fluctuations. In the intermediate temperature regime between T_c^{MF} and T_c, phase fluctuations of the superconducting order parameter give rise to the pseudogap phenomena. The phenomenological phase-fluctuation model discussed in this thesis consists of a two-dimensional BCS-like Hamiltonian where the phase of the pairing-amplitude is free to fluctuate. The fluctuations of the phase were treated by a Monte Carlo simulation of a classical XY model. First, the density of states was calculated. The quasiparticle tunneling conductance (dI/dV) obtained from our phenomenological phase fluctuation model was able to reproduce characteristic and salient features of recent scanning-tunneling studies of Bi2212 and Bi2201 suggesting that the pseudogap behavior observed in these experiments arises from phase fluctuations of the d_{x^2-y^2}-wave pairing gap. In calculating the single-particle spectral weight, we were further able to show how phase fluctuations influence the experimentally observed quasiparticle spectra in detail. In particular the disappearance of the BCS-Bogoliubov quasiparticle band at T_c and the change from a more V-like superconducting gap to a rather U-like pseudogap above T_c can be explained in a consistent way by assuming that the low-energy pseudogap in the underdoped cuprates is due to phase fluctuations of a local d_{x^2-y^2}-wave pairing gap with fixed magnitude. Furthermore, phase fluctuations can explain why the pseudogap starts closing from the nodal points, whereas it rather fills in along the anti-nodal directions and they can also account for the characteristic temperature dependence of the superconducting (pi,0)-photoemission-peak. Next, we have shown that the "violation" of the low-frequency optical sum rule recently observed in the SC state of underdoped Bi2212, which is associated with a reduction of kinetic energy, can be related to the role of phase fluctuations. The decrease in kinetic energy is due to the sharpening of the quasiparticle peaks close to the superconducting transition at T_c == T_{KT}, where the phase correlation length xi diverges. A detailed analysis of the temperature and frequency dependence of the optical conductivity sigma(omega)=sigma_1(omega)+i sigma_2(omega) revealed a superconducting scaling of sigma_2(omega), which starts already above T_c, exactly as observed in high-frequency microwave conductivity experiments on Bi2212. On the other hand, our model was only able to account for the characteristic peak, which is observed in sigma_1(omega) close to the superconducting transition, after the inclusion of an additional marginal-Fermi-liquid scattering-rate in the optical conductivity formula. Finally, we calculated the static uniform diamagnetic susceptibility. It turned out that the precursor effects of the fluctuating diamagnetism above T_c are very small and limited to temperatures close to T_c in a phase-fluctuation scenario of the pseudogap. Instead, the temperature dependence of the uniform static magnetic susceptibility is dominated by the Pauli spin susceptibility, which displayed a very characteristic temperature dependence, independent of the details of the gap function used in our model. This temperature dependence is qualitatively very similar to the experimentally observed change of the Knight-shift as a function of temperature in underdoped Bi2212.