Tracking topological defect motion and incommensurate charge order melting in a perovskite manganite

Kavli Affiliate: Lena F. Kourkoutis

| First 5 Authors: Noah Schnitzer, Berit H. Goodge, Gregory Powers, Jaewook Kim, Sang-Wook Cheong

| Summary:

Charge order pervades the phase diagrams of many quantum materials where it
competes with superconducting and magnetic phases, hosts electronic phase
transitions and topological defects, and couples to the lattice generating
intricate structural distortions. Incommensurate charge order is readily
stabilized in manganese oxides where it is associated with anomalous electronic
and magnetic properties, but its nanoscale structural inhomogeneity complicates
precise characterization and understanding of these phases. Leveraging
atomic-resolution variable temperature cryogenic scanning transmission electron
microscopy (cryo-STEM), we characterize the thermal evolution of charge order
in a model manganite system, finding that mobile networks of topological
defects generate phase inhomogeneity and induce incommensuration in an
otherwise lattice-locked modulation. The melting of charge order at high
temperatures is accompanied by generation of additional defects which decouple
large areas of the order from the lattice.

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