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Direct observation of electronic-liquid-crystal phase transitions and their microscopic origin in La1/3Ca2/3MnO3.

  • Author(s): Tao, J;
  • Sun, K;
  • Yin, W-G;
  • Wu, L;
  • Xin, H;
  • Wen, JG;
  • Luo, W;
  • Pennycook, SJ;
  • Tranquada, JM;
  • Zhu, Y
  • et al.

Published Web Location

https://doi.org/10.1038/srep37624Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license
Abstract

The ground-state electronic order in doped manganites is frequently associated with a lattice modulation, contributing to their many interesting properties. However, measuring the thermal evolution of the lattice superstructure with reciprocal-space probes alone can lead to ambiguous results with competing interpretations. Here we provide direct observations of the evolution of the superstructure in La1/3Ca2/3MnO3 in real space, as well as reciprocal space, using transmission electron microscopic (TEM) techniques. We show that the transitions are the consequence of a proliferation of dislocations plus electronic phase separation. The resulting states are well described by the symmetries associated with electronic-liquid-crystal (ELC) phases. Moreover, our results resolve the long-standing controversy over the origin of the incommensurate superstructure and suggest a new structural model that is consistent with recent theoretical calculations.

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