We report the influence on the superconducting critical temperature Tc in doped SrTiO3 of the substitution of the natural 16O atoms by the heavier isotope 18O. We observe that for a wide range of doping this substitution causes a strong (~50%) enhancement of Tc. Also the magnetic critical field Hc2 is increased by a factor ~2. Such a strong impact on Tc and Hc2, with a sign opposite to conventional superconductors, is unprecedented. The observed effect could be the consequence of strong coupling of the doped electrons to lattice vibrations (phonons), a notion which finds support in numerous optical and photo-emission studies. The unusually large size of the observed isotope effect supports a recent model for superconductivity in these materials based on strong coupling to the ferroelectric soft modes of SrTiO3.
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