Superconductivity and charge density waves (CDWs) are competitive, yet coexisting, orders in cuprate superconductors. To understand their microscopic interdependence, a probe capable of discerning their interaction on its natural length and time scale is necessary. We use ultrafast resonant soft x-ray scattering to track the transient evolution of CDW correlations in YBa2Cu3O6+x after the quench of superconductivity by an infrared laser pulse. We observe a nonthermal response of the CDW order characterized by a near doubling of the correlation length within ≈1 picosecond of the superconducting quench. Our results are consistent with a model in which the interaction between superconductivity and CDWs manifests inhomogeneously through disruption of spatial coherence, with superconductivity playing the dominant role in stabilizing CDW topological defects, such as discommensurations.
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