Investigation Of Electronic Structure Of Transition Metal Oxides Exhibiting Metal-insulator Transitions And Related Phenomena
Transition metal oxides have proven to be a fertile research area for condensed matter physicists due to the fascinating array of superconducting, magnetic and electronic properties they exhibit. A particular resurgence of intense activity in investigating the properties of these systems followed the discovery of high temperature superconductivity in the cuprates, colossal magnetoresistance in the manganites, ferroelectricity in the cobaltites and simultaneous ferroelectric and ferromagnetic ordering in the manganites. These diverse properties of transition metal compounds arise due to the presence of strong electron-electron interactions within the transition element 3d states. Indeed, it is the competition between the localizing effects of such interactions and the comparable hopping strengths driving the system towards delocalization, that is responsible for these wide spectrum of interesting properties. In terms of theoretical and fundamental issues, electronic structure of transition metal oxides play a most important role, providing a testing ground for new many-body theoretical approaches treating the correlation problem at various levels of approximations. In addition to this rich spectrum of properties, metal-insulator transitions often occur and can even be coincident with structural or magnetic changes due to the strong coupling between charge, magnetic and lattice degrees of freedom. However, in spite of the immense activities in this area, the underlying phenomena is not yet completely understood. A careful investigation of the electronic structure of these systems will help in the microscopic understanding of these and photoelectron spectroscopy has been established as the most powerful tool for investigating the electronic structures of these systems. In this thesis we investigate the electronic structures of some of these transition metal oxides and the metal-insulator transition as a function of electron correlation strength and doping of charge carriers by means of photoelectron spectroscopy; we analyze the experimental results using various theoretical approaches, in order to obtain detailed and quantitative understandings. This thesis is organized into seven chapters. Chapter 1 is a general introduction to the various concepts discussed in this thesis. Here we briefly describe the various mechanisms and theoretical formalisms used for understanding the metal-insulator transitions in strongly correlated systems and the evolution of the electronic structure across the transition. The experimental and the calculational techniques used in this thesis is described in Chapter 2. This includes different sample synthesis techniques and the characterization tools used in the present study. Photoelectron spectroscopic techniques used for probing the electronic structure of various systems are also discussed in this chapter. In Chapter 3, we discuss the coexistence of ferromagnetism and superconductivity in ruthenocuprates by looking at the electronic structures of RuSr2Eu1.5Ce0.5Cu2O10 which is a ferromagnetic superconductor having the ferromagnetic TC ~ 100 K and a superconducting transition of ~ 30 K compared with RuSr2EuCeCu2O10 which is a ferromagnetic (TC ~ 150 K) insulator in conjunction with two reference systems, RuSr2GdO6and Sr2RuO4. The coexistence of ferromagnetic order with superconductivity below the superconducting temperature is an interesting issue since the pair-breaking due to magnetic interactions is not significant in these cases. Extensive photoelectron spectroscopic measurements were performed on these systems and our results show that Eu and Ce in both the ruthenocuprates exists in 3+ and 4+ states, respectively. Also the analysis of the Ru 3d and 3p core levels suggests that Ru remains in the pentavalent state in both the cases. The constancy of Ru valency with doping of charge carriers that bring about an insulator to metal transition and the superconducting state suggests that the electronic structure and transport properties of these compounds are not governed by the Ru-O plane, but by the Cu-O plane, much as in the case of other high TC cuprates. Analysis of the Cu 2p core level spectra in terms of a cluster model, including configuration interaction and multiplet interactions between Cu 3d and 2p as well as that within the Cu 3d states, establish a close similarity of the basic electronic structure of these ruthenocuprates to those of other high TC cuprates. Here the charge transfer energy, Δ << Udd,Cu 3d multiplet-averaged Coulomb repulsion energy, establishing the compounds to be deep in the charge transfer regime. Continuing with the ruthenocuprate systems in Chapter 4, we look at the electronic structure of hole doped La2CuRuO6systems using various photoemission techniques. It was expected that since the substitution of La3+by Sr2+changes the d electron count, the system will undergo a metal to insulator transition, but the transport properties show that all of them remain semiconducting through out the lowest temperature of measurement. A careful analysis of the Ru 3d and 3p core level spectra shows that Ru exists in Ru 4+state in La2CuRuO6and goes towards Ru 5+state with hole doping. This suggests that the doped holes affects the electronic structure of the Ru levels in these systems. A spectral decomposition of the Ru 3d core level suggests the existence of a spin orbit split doublet having two peaks, a main core level peak and a satellite peak at the higher binding energy side of the main peak and the intensity ratio of the satellite peak to the main peak increases with the insulating nature of the compounds as reported for other Ru 4d strongly correlated systems. This observation is also consistent with the transport properties. Cu 2p core level spectra also shows variations in the satellite-to-main peak Cu 2p intensities suggesting that the electronic structure of the Cu levels are also getting affected with Sr doping. Valence band spectral features near the Fermi level shows that the spectral weight is highest for La2CuRuO6and depletes slowly with Sr doping consistent with the expected d electron count as suggested by the Ru valencies. In Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 we discuss the electronic structure investigations of two early transition metal oxide series, namely Ca1−xSrxVO3and Ce1−xSrxTiO3. Surface sensitivity dependence of photoemission experiments has been explored to show that the surface and the bulk electronic structures of Ca1−xSrxVO3system is different. Photoemission spectra of this system using synchrotron radiation reveal a hither to unnoticed polarization dependence of the photoemission matrix elements for the surface component leading to substantial underestimation. Extracted bulk spectra from experimentally determined electron escape depth and underestimation of surface contributions resolve the puzzling issues that arose due to the recent diverse interpretations of the electronic structure in Ca1−xSrxVO3. Keeping in mind the above-mentioned caveat, the present results still clearly establish that the linear polarization of synchrotron radiation plays a key role in determining the spectral lineshape in these systems. The experimentally-determined bulk spectra provide an understanding of the electronic structure in Ca1−xSrxVO3, consistent with experimental γ values, calculated change in the d-bandwidth and the geometrical/structural trends across the series, thereby resolving the puzzle concerning the structure-property relationship in this interesting class of compounds. In Chapter 6 we discuss the issues of metal-insulator transition close to the d0limit as well as the evolution of the electronic structure of a strongly correlated system as a function of electron occupancy, by investigating the family of Ce1−xSrxTiO3compounds by recording core level as well as valence band photoemission spectra using lab source as well as synchrotron radiations. Core level Ce 3d spectra from Ce1−xSrxTiO3samples establish a trivalent state of Ce in these compounds for all values of x confirming that charge doping in the present system does not alter the electronic structure of Ce. Hence the change in valency due to Sr substitution and thus, the carrier number, takes place only in the Ti 3d-O 2p manifold. We also carried out extensive VUV photoemission experiments on these samples with the photon energy varying between 26-122 eV. From the difference spectrum obtained by subtracting the off-resonance spectrum from the on-resonance one, we obtain the Ce 4f spectral signature; thus obtained Ce 4f spectrum which has a peak at about 3 eV binding energy and shows no intensity at EF even for the metallic samples, consistent with a Ce3+state. In order to study the states near EF responsible for the metal-insulator transition in these compounds, we recorded the valence band spectra at the Ce 4f oﬀ-resonance condition so that the coherent and the incoherent spectral features arising from the Ti 3d states could be clearly resolved, allowing us to investigate the metal insulator transition in the Ce1−xSrxTiO3system as a function of Sr or hole doping. The experimental spectra of the metallic compounds exhibit an intensity of the incoherent feature considerably larger than that predicted by theory. This discrepancy is possibly due to a difference in the surface and the bulk electronic structures of these compounds. Chapter 7 is divided into two parts. In the first part we discuss the extended x-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) studies performed on two transition metal oxide series, La1−xSrxCoO3and La1−xSrxFeO3to look at the local structure distortions happening around the transition metal ions and its role in bringing out metal to insulator transitions in transition metal oxide systems. Here we chose to investigate these two systems since La1−xSrxCoO3undergoes an insulator to metal transition for x ∼ 0.15 and La1−xSrxFeO3remains insulating for the entire range of doping. The static mean square relative displacement, which we believe to be a representation of the disorder present in the system, extracted by fitting the experimental data by a correlated Einstein model, as a function of composition in La1−xSrxCoO3saturates beyond the critical composition where as the disorder parameter continues to increase through out the entire doping range in the case of La1−xSrxFeO3where metal-insulator transition is absent. In the second part of Chapter 7 we discuss the x-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) studies performed on the above mentioned series of systems. Co K-edge XANES spectra of La1−xSrxCoO3show that there is a systematic shift of the main absorption peak with hole doping suggesting that the Co valency changes systematically with Sr doping. Also, the pre-edge feature of LaCoO3shows the transitions to t2g level clearly showing that Co3+in LaCoO3is not in a pure low spin (t6 2g) state. The Fe K-edge XANES spectra of La1−xSrxFeO3also exhibit a systematic shift to the higher energy side with increase in Sr content, indicating an increase in the Fe valence. Also from the La L3edge analysis, it can be concluded that the oxygen environment around La and the electronic configuration of La are systematically changing with Sr doping.
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