Slater Insulator in Iridate Perovskites with Strong Spin-Orbit Coupling

Q. Cui, J. G. Cheng, W. Fan, A. E. Taylor, S. Calder, M. A. McGuire, J. Q. Yan, D. Meyers, X. Li, Y. Q. Cai, Y. Y. Jiao, Y. Choi, D. Haskel, H. Gotou, Y. Uwatoko, Jak Chakhalian, A. D. Christianson, S. Yunoki, J. B. Goodenough, J. S. Zhou

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21 Scopus citations


The perovskite SrIrO3 is an exotic narrow-band metal owing to a confluence of the strengths of the spin-orbit coupling (SOC) and the electron-electron correlations. It has been proposed that topological and magnetic insulating phases can be achieved by tuning the SOC, Hubbard interactions, and/or lattice symmetry. Here, we report that the substitution of nonmagnetic, isovalent Sn4+ for Ir4+ in the SrIr1-xSnxO3 perovskites synthesized under high pressure leads to a metal-insulator transition to an antiferromagnetic (AF) phase at TN≥225 K. The continuous change of the cell volume as detected by x-ray diffraction and the λ-shape transition of the specific heat on cooling through TN demonstrate that the metal-insulator transition is of second order. Neutron powder diffraction results indicate that the Sn substitution enlarges an octahedral-site distortion that reduces the SOC relative to the spin-spin exchange interaction and results in the type-G AF spin ordering below TN. Measurement of high-temperature magnetic susceptibility shows the evolution of magnetic coupling in the paramagnetic phase typical of weak itinerant-electron magnetism in the Sn-substituted samples. A reduced structural symmetry in the magnetically ordered phase leads to an electron gap opening at the Brillouin zone boundary below TN in the same way as proposed by Slater.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number176603
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number17
StatePublished - Oct 20 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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