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Tuning of the Ru 4 + ground-state orbital population in the 4 d 4 Mott insulator Ca 2 RuO 4 achieved by La doping

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.99.075125 DOI Help

Authors: D. Pincini (University College London; Diamond Light Source) , L. S. I. Veiga (University College London) , C. D. Dashwood (University College London) , F. Forte (CNR-SPIN; Università di Salerno) , M. Cuoco (CNR-SPIN; Università di Salerno) , R. S. Perry (University College London (UCL)) , P. Bencok (Diamond Light Source) , A. T. Boothroyd (University of Oxford) , D. F. Mcmorrow (University College London)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Physical Review B , VOL 99

State: Published (Approved)
Published: February 2019

Abstract: The ground-state orbital occupancy of the Ru4+ ion in Ca2−xLaxRuO4[x=0, 0.05(1), 0.07(1), and 0.12(1)] was investigated by performing x-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) in the vicinity of the O K edge as a function of the angle between the incident beam and the surface of the single-crystal samples. A minimal model of the hybridization between the O 2p states probed at the K edge and the Ru 4d orbitals was used to analyze the XAS data, allowing the ratio of hole occupancies nxy/nyz,zx to be determined as a function of doping and temperature. For the samples displaying a low-temperature insulating ground state (x≤0.07), nxy/nyz,zx is found to increase significantly with increasing doping, with increasing temperature acting to further enhance nxy/nyz,zx. For the x=0.12 sample, which has a metallic ground state, the XAS spectra are found to be independent of temperature and not to be describable by the minimal hybridization model, while being qualitatively similar to the spectra displayed by the x≤0.07 samples above their insulating to metallic transitions. To understand the origin of the evolution of the electronic structure of Ca2−xLaxRuO4 across its phase diagram, we have performed theoretical calculations based on a model Hamiltonian, comprising electron-electron correlations, crystal field Δ, and spin-orbit coupling λ, of a Ru-O-Ru cluster, with realistic values used to parametrize the various interactions taken from the literature. Our calculations of the Ru hole occupancy as a function of Δ/λ provide an excellent description of the general trends displayed by the data. In particular they establish that the enhancement of nxy/nyz,zx is driven by significant modifications to the crystal field as the tetragonal distortion of the RuO6 octahedral changes from compressive to tensile with La doping. We have also used our model to show that the hole occupancy of the O 2p and Ru 4d orbitals displays the same general trend as a function of Δ/λ, thus validating the minimal hybridization model used to analyze the data. In essence, our results suggest that the predominant mechanism driving the emergence of the low-temperature metallic phase in La-doped Ca2RuO4 is the structurally induced redistribution of holes within the t2g orbitals, rather than the injection of free carriers.

Journal Keywords: Electronic structure; Spin-orbit coupling; Mott insulators; Single crystal materials; Cluster methods; X-ray absorption spectroscopy

Subject Areas: Materials, Physics


Instruments: I10-Beamline for Advanced Dichroism