Charge-density waves studied at the surface and at the atomic scale in NbSe3

Pierre Monceau 1 C. Brun 2 Zhao-Zhong Wang 2 S. Brazovskii 3

Physica B: Condensed Matter, Elsevier, 2012, 407 (11), pp.1845

We have studied by scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) the two charge-density wave (CDW) transitions in NbSe3 on in situ cleaved (b,c) plane. We could identify the three types of chains existing inside a single unit cell as well as characterize how both CDWs are distributed on these elementary chains. We also followed between 5 and 140 K the temperature dependence of first-order CDW satellite spots, obtained from the Fourier transform of the STM images, to extract the surface critical temperatures (T-s). Whereas the high-temperature CDW appears to have comparable critical temperature to the bulk one, the low-T CDW transition occurs at T-2s = 70-75 K, more than 15 K above the bulk T-2b = 59 K while at exactly the same wave number. A reasonable mechanism for such an unusually high surface enhancement is a softening of transverse phonon modes involved in the CDW formation.

  • 1. CristElec MagSup
  • 2. LPN – Laboratoire de photonique et de nanostructures
  • 3. LPTMS – Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques
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