Single-domain stripe order in a high-temperature superconductor

The coupling of spin, charge and lattice degrees of freedom results in the emergence of novel states of matter across many classes of strongly correlated electron materials. A model example is unconventional superconductivity, which is widely believed to arise from the coupling of electrons via spin excitations. In cuprate high-temperature superconductors, the interplay of charge and spin degrees of freedom is also reflected in a zoo of charge and spin- density wave orders that are intertwined with superconductivity.

A key question is whether the different types of density waves merely coexist or are indeed directly coupled. Here we profit from a neutron scattering technique with superior beam-focusing that allows us to probe the subtle spin-density wave order in the prototypical high-temperature super- conductor La1.88 Sr0.12 CuO4 under applied uniaxial pressure to demonstrate that the two density waves respond to the external tuning parameter in the same manner. Our result shows that suitable models for high-temperature superconductivity must equally account for charge and spin degrees of freedom via uniaxial charge-spin stripe fluctuations.