Fundamental electronic principles underlying all transition metal compounds are the symmetry and filling of the d-electron orbitals and the influence of this filling on structural configurations and responses. Here we use a sensitive local structural technique, x-ray atomic pair distribution function analysis, to reveal the presence of fluctuating local-structural distortions at high temperature in one such compound, CuIr2S4. We show that this hitherto overlooked fluctuating symmetry-lowering is electronic in origin and will modify the energy-level spectrum and electronic and magnetic properties. The explanation is a local, fluctuating, orbital-degeneracy-lifted state. The natural extension of our result would be that this phenomenon is likely to be widespread amongst diverse classes of partially filled nominally degenerate d-electron systems, with potentially broad implications for our understanding of their properties.
E. S. Bozin and W. G. Yin and R. J. Koch and M. Abeykoon and Y. S. Hor and H. Zheng and H. C. Lei and C. Petrovic and J. F. Mitchell and S. J. Billinge, "Local Orbital Degeneracy Lifting as a Precursor to an Orbital-Selective Peierls Transition," Nature Communications, vol. 10, no. 1, Nature Publishing Group, Dec 2019.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-11372-w
Keywords and Phrases
Electronic Equipment; Fluctuating Asymmetry; Magnetic Property; Orbital Forcing; Transition Element, Article; High Temperature; Precursor; X Ray
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Article - Journal
© 2019 The Authors, All rights reserved.
Creative Commons Licensing
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
01 Dec 2019