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Charge modulations have been widely observed in cuprates, suggesting their centrality for understanding the high-Tc superconductivity in these materials. However, the dimensionality of these modulations remains controversial, including whether their wavevector is unidirectional or bidirectional, and also whether they extend seamlessly from the surface of the material into the bulk. Material disorder presents severe challenges to understanding the charge modulations through bulk scattering techniques. We use a local technique, scanning tunneling microscopy, to image the static charge modulations on Bi2−zPbzSr2−yLayCuO6+x. The ratio of the phase correlation length ξCDW to the orientation correlation length ξorient points to unidirectional charge modulations. By computing new critical exponents at free surfaces including that of the pair connectivity correlation function, we show that these locally 1D charge modulations are actually a bulk effect resulting from classical 3D criticality of the random field Ising model throughout the entire superconducting doping range.


This is the published version of the Song, CL., Main, E.J., Simmons, F. et al. Critical nematic correlations throughout the superconducting doping range in Bi2−zPbzSr2−yLayCuO6+x. Nat Commun 14, 2622 (2023).