Nature Materials 15, 835 (2016). doi:10.1038/nmat4623 Authors: Z. Wang, S. McKeown Walker, A. Tamai, Y. Wang, Z. Ristic, F. Y. Bruno, A. de la Torre, S. Riccò, N. C. Plumb, M. Shi, P. Hlawenka, J. Sánchez-Barriga, A. Varykhalov, T. K. Kim, M. Hoesch, P. D. C. King, W. Meevasana, U. Diebold, J. Mesot, B. Moritz, T. P. Devereaux, M. Radovic & F. Baumberger Surfaces and interfaces offer new possibilities for tailoring the many-body interactions that dominate the electrical and thermal properties of transition metal oxides. Here, we use the prototypical two-dimensional electron liquid (2DEL) at the SrTiO3(001) surface to reveal a remarkably complex evolution of electron–phonon coupling with the tunable carrier density of this system. At low density, where superconductivity is found in the analogous 2DEL at the LaAlO3/SrTiO3 interface, our angle-resolved photoemission data show replica bands separated by 100 meV from the main bands. This is a hallmark of a coherent polaronic liquid and implies long-range coupling to a single longitudinal optical phonon branch. In the overdoped regime the preferential coupling to this branch decreases and the 2DEL undergoes a crossover to a more conventional metallic state with weaker short-range electron–phonon interaction. These results place constraints on the theoretical description of superconductivity and allow a unified understanding of the transport properties in SrTiO3-based 2DELs.
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