Investigation Of Electronic And Magnetic Structure Of Transition Metal Oxides With Emphasis On Magnetoresistive Systems
Electronic structure of transition metal oxides has been a subject of intense research since decades due to the wide spectrum of properties that they exhibit, like high temperature superconductivity, metal-insulator transitions (MIT), phase separation etc. Among these, colossal magnetoresistance (CMR), i.e. a sharp drop in the electrical resistance by the application of an external magnetic field, is a property of fundamental and technological importance. In the present study we investigate several of these interesting properties ranging from colossal magnetoresistance, metal-insulator transitions and phase separation phenomena on a wide range of magnetoresistive systems. All these properties originate in transition metal oxides due to a competition between the strong inter-atomic Coulomb interaction strength within the transition metal d electrons and a large hopping interaction strength between the metal d and oxygen 2p states. In this thesis we report the investigation of the electronic and magnetic structures of some magnetoresistive oxides, including various double perovskites and manganites, using various high energy spectroscopies in conjunction with various theoretical approaches. The samples for the present experimental investigation were prepared by different synthetic routes, such as solid state reaction, nitrate method, d.c arc melting and float zone method, and were characterized by x-ray diffraction, four probe resistivity, magnetic susceptibility, optical absorption and energy dispersive analysis of x-rays while some of the samples were supplied by our collaborators. Various spectroscopic techniques like x-ray photoemission spectroscopy (XPS), ultraviolet photoemission spectroscopy (UPS) , bremsstrahlung isochromat spectroscopy (BIS), x-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), x-ray magnetic circular dichroism spectroscopy (XMCD) , electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS), spatially resolved photoelectron spectroscopy and M¨ ossbauer spectroscopy were used to probe the samples. Theoretical methods include configuration interaction cluster approach to ﬁt the XAS and XMCD spectra while ab initio band structure calculations along with the least-square fitting procedure was used to fit some of the valence and conduction bands. Following a general introduction in Chapter 1, the details of various experimental and theoretical techniques are discussed in Chapter 2 of this thesis. Recently, a double perovskite, Sr2FeMoO6, belonging to a general family of halfmetallic ferromagnetic oxides, has shown a spectacularly large magnetoresistance even at the room temperature and at relatively small applied magnetic ﬁelds compared to the extensively investigated class of magnetoresistive manganites. Physical properties of this compound is strongly influenced by the Fe -Mo ordering. We hence synthesized Sr2FeMoO6 sample, both with high and low degree of Fe/Mo ordering. Spectroscopic investigations of these samples suggest the presence of Fe rich and Mo rich domains of the type Sr2Fe1+xMo1−xO6 in disordered Sr2FeMoO6 at times. This prompted us to prepare bulk samples of Sr2Fe1+xMo1−xO6. In Chapter 3 we address various issues related to Fe/Mo ordering like saturation magnetization, variation of TC, and CMR as well as oxidation state of Fe and Mo in Sr2FeMoO6using this new series, ”Sr2Fe1+xMo1−xO6” as it offers a better control on the Fe/Mo bonds by controlling x. On the basis of the electron spectroscopic studies in conjunction with a configuration interaction cluster calculation model coupled with the conduction band, we claim that Fe remains in 3+oxidation state throughout the series, where as Mo changes its valency to maintain the charge neutrality. An analysis of the magnetic momentas a function of x suggests that Fe at the ”wrong” crystallographic site is coupled anti-parallel to the Fe moments at the ”correct” site. Additionally, Mo depolarizes to the extend proportional to the number of Mo sites in the near-neighbor co-ordination shell. Continuing with the double perovskites in Chapter 4 we investigate the electronic and magnetic structure of Sr2FeMoO6, Ca2FeMoO6 and Ba2FeMoO6using XAS and XMCD studies. We find that the conventional XAS and XMCD calculations based on configuration interaction of a typical fragment, FeO6in this case, is insufficient to reproduce the experimental spectrum as the compounds considered here are metallic. In order to include the non local charge transfer, we coupled FeO6 octahedra to a conduction band which mimics the Mo band. Within this model we obtained a good fit to the experimental spectrum. Chapter 5 deals with another series of double perovskite (Sr1−yCay)2FeReO6which exhibits a rich phase diagram since it undergoes a metal insulator transition (MIT) with composition at low temperatures. This system becomes more interesting due to the presence of a temperature driven MIT for higher y compositions. We find that the MIT is not related to the change in valency of Fe and Re. Analysis of the near Fermi edge valence band spectra suggests opening up of a soft gap. The main reason for MIT in this system is most likely the presence of strong electron-electron correlation between multiple electrons at the Re site, which is caused by the mismatch of the Re ionic radius and change in the crystal structure across MIT. Another issue which has been extensively investigated in this thesis is phase separation in manganites presented in Chapter 6. We use a spatially resolved, direct spectroscopic probe for electronic structure with an additional unique sensitivity to chemical compositions, to investigate high quality single crystal samples of La1/4Pr3/8Ca3/8MnO3 in the first section. This unique probe establishes the formation of distinct insulating domains embedded in the metallic host at low temperatures, significantly in the absence of any perceptible chemical inhomogeneity, with the domain-size at least an order of magnitude larger than the previous largest estimate. We also provide compelling evidence of memory effects in such domain formation and morphology, suggesting an intimate connection between these electronic domains and long-range strains, often thought to be an important ingredient in the physics of doped manganites. In second part of this chapter we discuss another system namely Eu0.5Y0.5MnO3 which undergoes a chemical phase separation forming alternate stripes of Eu rich (Y deficient) orthorhombic phase and Y rich (Eu deficient) hexagonal phases. These stripes are amazingly straight and run parallel over millimeters. One more system that we investigated is a mixture of ferromagnetic La5/8Sr3/8MnO3and insulating ferroelectric LuMnO3 taken in ratio 3:7, here too the attempt to make a single crystal resulted into a chemical phase separation forming strips of metallic La5/8Sr3/8MnO3and insulating LuMnO3 throughout the sample surface. Preliminary studies suggests that strain between the chemically and crystallographically different species may result into such interesting morphology. In Chapter 7 we study pseudo-one dimensional compounds Sr3CuIrO6 and Sr3ZnIrO6 using photo electron spectroscopy. The experimental results were fitted using band structure calculations with Full Potential Linearized Augmented Plane Wave (FP-LAPW) method.
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