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Long-range Coulomb interactions and nanoscale electronic inhomogeneities in correlated oxides

Shenoy, Vijay B and Gupta, Tribikram and Krishnamurthy, HR and Ramakrishnan, TV (2009) Long-range Coulomb interactions and nanoscale electronic inhomogeneities in correlated oxides. In: Physical Review B, 80 (12).

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Electronic, magnetic, or structural inhomogeneities ranging in size from nanoscopic to mesoscopic scales seem endemic and are possibly generic to colossal magnetoresistance manganites and other transition metal oxides. They are hence of great current interest and understanding them is of fundamental importance. We show here that an extension, to include long-range Coulomb interactions, of a quantum two-fluid l-b model proposed recently for manganites [Phys. Rev. Lett. 92, 157203 (2004)] leads to an excellent description of such inhomogeneities. In the l-b model two very different kinds of electronic states, one localized and polaronic (l) and the other extended or broad band (b) coexist. For model parameters appropriate to manganites and even within a simple dynamical mean-field theory (DMFT) framework, it describes many of the unusual phenomena seen in manganites, including colossal magnetoresistance (CMR), qualitatively and quantitatively. However, in the absence of long-ranged Coulomb interaction, a system described by such a model would actually phase separate, into macroscopic regions of l and b electrons, respectively. As we show in this paper, in the presence of Coulomb interactions, the macroscopic phase separation gets suppressed and instead nanometer scale regions of polarons interspersed with band electron puddles appear, constituting a kind of quantum Coulomb glass. We characterize the size scales and distribution of the inhomogeneity using computer simulations. For realistic values of the long-range Coulomb interaction parameter V-0, our results for the thresholds for occupancy of the b states are in agreement with, and hence support, the earlier approach mentioned above based on a configuration averaged DMFT treatment which neglects V-0; but the present work has features that cannot be addressed in the DMFT framework. Our work points to an interplay of strong correlations, long-range Coulomb interaction, and dopant ion disorder, all inevitably present in transition metal oxides as the origin of nanoscale inhomogeneities rather than disorder frustrated phase competition as is generally believed. As regards manganites, it argues against explanations for CMR based on disorder frustrated phase separation and for an intrinsic origin of CMR. Based on this, we argue that the observed micrometer (meso) scale inhomogeneities owe their existence to extrinsic causes, e.g., strain due to cracks and defects. We suggest possible experiments to validate our speculation.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Physical Review B
Publisher: American Physical Society
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to American Physical Society, 2009.
Department/Centre: Division of Physical & Mathematical Sciences > Physics
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2009 08:32
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2018 08:26
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/24518

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