Distinct fingerprints of charge density waves and electronic standing waves in ZrTe3

Li Yue, Shangjie Xue, Jiarui Li, Wen Hu, Andi Barbour, Feipeng Zheng, Lichen Wang, Ji Feng, Stuart B. Wilkins, Claudio Mazzoli, Riccardo Comin, and Yuan Li

May 21, 2019
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Received date 24th April 19

Experimental signatures of charge density waves (CDW) in high-temperature superconductors have evoked much recent interest, yet an alternative interpretation has been theoretically raised based on electronic standing waves resulting from quasiparticles scattering off impurities or defects, also known as Friedel oscillations (FO). Indeed the two phenomena are similar and related, posing a challenge to their experimental differentiation. Here we report a resonant X-ray diffraction study of ZrTe3, a model CDW material. Near the CDW transition, we observe two independent diffraction signatures that arise concomitantly, only to become clearly separated in momentum while developing very different correlation lengths in the well-ordered state. Anomalously slow dynamics of mesoscopic ordered nanoregions are further found near the transition temperature, in spite of the expected strong thermal fluctuations. These observations reveal that a spatially-modulated CDW phase emerges out of a uniform electronic fluid via a process that is promoted by self-amplifying FO, and identify a viable experimental route to distinguish CDW and FO.

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This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.

Nature Communications

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