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Monophosphate tungsten bronzes and antimony : the interplay of framework instability and electron-phonon coupling

Abstract : A large number of phase transitions can be interpreted as being driven by phonon softening and/or electron-phonon coupling. Thus, a full mechanistic description requires the understanding of structural transformation, changes in electronic structure and lattice dynamics. All together this represents an enormous, for many cases unrealisable, experimental and theoretical effort.However, with the introduction of appropriate assumptions the problem may be simplified. Here we concentrate on two systems, where the interpretation of the phase transition may be split into an intrinsic instability of the building blocks combined with a superimposed electronic instability. We illustrate the interplay between the framework and electron-phonon-related instabilities using the seemingly heterogeneous examples of phosphate tungsten bronzes and elementary antimony. Based on the combined results from diffuse and inelastic X-ray scattering, we propose for the two systems a picture that explains the experimental observations. The similarities found between these two systems are deemed to be rather surprising.Monophosphate tungsten bronzes are a family of quasi-2D-oxides, (PO2)4(WO3)2m, that exhibits charge density wave (CDW) instability. They contain empty perovskite WO3 slabs with varying thickness between different members, characterised by the m value. This thickness defines the sequence of charge density wave phases that appear on cooling. The degenerate case of m=2, presenting a quasi-1D instability, was explored since the WO3-octahedra zig-zag chain is isolated. A CDW phase (TC=270K and q=0.25b*) is found to be linked to a rigid-body motion, precisely, to a correlation in the tilting of the octahedra. For the others studied members, as m=6,7 and 8, we found another kind of structural instability. In this case the origin comes from the WO3 slabs framework, realised as correlated displacements of tungsten atoms along the octahedral 4-fold axis direction (W-O-W-O direction). This leads to a strong x-ray diffuse scattering localised in specific planes, linked to relatively soft phonons modes. Specific Fermi surface nesting, close to the 2D case, gives rise to a freezing of the modulations at the specific momentum transfer, defined by the interplay of two instabilities, the structural and electronic one. Remarkably, the displacements of W for m=8 are much superior than in m=6.Elemental antimony at ambient condition has an A7 rhombohedral structure, obtained by small distortion from primitive cubic (PC) lattice through a Peierls transition. Under pressure, the distortion is reduced, but remains finite, as antimony transforms through a series of highly complex structures, before adopting as last the highest-symmetry body-centred cubic (BCC) phase. The main diffuse scattering features and to some extent the peculiarities in the lattice dynamics of the A7 phase – as above - can be explained by the instability of the primitive cubic network with respect to correlated displacements along the chains with <100> pseudo-cubic directions. Analysis of critical vectors for the BCC-PC transformation together with experimentally obtained phonon-energies pressure dependence provides further insights into the details of the phase transformation.
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  • HAL Id : tel-02271297, version 1



Arianna Minelli. Monophosphate tungsten bronzes and antimony : the interplay of framework instability and electron-phonon coupling. Condensed Matter [cond-mat]. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018GREAY085⟩. ⟨tel-02271297⟩



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