Layered doped Mott insulators, such as the cuprates, show unusual temperature dependence of the resistivity. Intriguingly, the resistivity perpendicular to the CuO2 planes, ρc(T), shows both metallic (dρc/dT>0) and semiconducting (dρc/dT<0) behavior. We shed light on this puzzle by calculating ρc for the two-dimensional Hubbard model within plaquette cellular dynamical mean-field theory and strong-coupling continuous-time quantum Monte Carlo as the impurity solver. The temperature, T, and doping, δ, dependencies of ρc are controlled by the first-order transition between pseudogap and correlated metal phases from which superconductivity can emerge. On the large-doping side of the transition ρc(T) is metallic, while on the low-doping side ρc(T) changes from metallic to semiconducting behavior with decreasing T. As a function of doping, the jump in ρc across the first-order transition evolves into a sharp crossover at higher temperatures. This crossover coincides with the pseudogap temperature T* in the single-particle density of states, the spin susceptibility, and other observables. Such coincidence in crossovers is expected along the continuation of the first-order transition into the supercritical regime, called the Widom line. This implies that not only the dynamic and the thermodynamic properties but also the dc transport in the normal state are governed by the hidden first-order transition. ρc(T) has a high-temperature quasilinear regime where it can exceed the Mott-Ioffe-Regel limit, and when it has a minimum it is nearly parallel to the Widom line.
- HIGH-TEMPERATURE SUPERCONDUCTORS
- COPPER-OXIDE SUPERCONDUCTORS
- SPECTRAL WEIGHT