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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Bending and breaking of stripes in a charge ordered manganite.

  • Author(s): Savitzky, Benjamin H
  • El Baggari, Ismail
  • Admasu, Alemayehu S
  • Kim, Jaewook
  • Cheong, Sang-Wook
  • Hovden, Robert
  • Kourkoutis, Lena F
  • et al.

In charge-ordered phases, broken translational symmetry emerges from couplings between charge, spin, lattice, or orbital degrees of freedom, giving rise to remarkable phenomena such as colossal magnetoresistance and metal-insulator transitions. The role of the lattice in charge-ordered states remains particularly enigmatic, soliciting characterization of the microscopic lattice behavior. Here we directly map picometer scale periodic lattice displacements at individual atomic columns in the room temperature charge-ordered manganite Bi0.35Sr0.18Ca0.47MnO3 using aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy. We measure transverse, displacive lattice modulations of the cations, distinct from existing manganite charge-order models. We reveal locally unidirectional striped domains as small as ~5 nm, despite apparent bidirectionality over larger length scales. Further, we observe a direct link between disorder in one lattice modulation, in the form of dislocations and shear deformations, and nascent order in the perpendicular modulation. By examining the defects and symmetries of periodic lattice displacements near the charge ordering phase transition, we directly visualize the local competition underpinning spatial heterogeneity in a complex oxide.

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