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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Optical non-reciprocity in magnetic structures related to high-T_c superconductors


Rotation of the plane of polarization of reflected light (Kerr effect) is a direct manifestation of broken time reversal symmetry and is generally associated with the appearance of a ferromagnetic moment. Here I identify magnetic structures that may arise within the unit cell of cuprate superconductors that generate polarization rotation despite the absence of a net moment. For these magnetic symmetries the Kerr effect is mediated by magnetoelectric coupling, which can arise when antiferromagnetic order breaks inversion symmetry. The structures identifed are candidates for a time-reversal breaking phase in the pseudogap regime of the cuprates.

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