Pairing symmetry in the cuprate superconductors is an important and controversial topic. The recent development of phase-sensitive tests, combined with the refinement of several other symmetry-sensitive techniques, has for the most part settled this controversy in favor of predominantly -wave symmetry for a number of optimally hole- and electron-doped cuprates. This paper begins by reviewing the concepts of the order parameter, symmetry breaking, and symmetry classification in the context of the cuprates. After a brief survey of some of the key non-phase-sensitive tests of pairing symmetry, the authors extensively review the phase-sensitive methods, which use the half-integer flux-quantum effect as an unambiguous signature for -wave pairing symmetry. A number of related symmetry-sensitive experiments are described. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of the implications, both fundamental and applied, of the predominantly -wave pairing symmetry in the cuprates.
© 2000 The American Physical Society