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Orbital correlations in doped manganites

Hill JP, Nelson CS, von Zimmermann M, Kim YJ, Gibbs D, Casa D, Keimer B, Murakami Y, Venkataraman C, Gog T, Tomioka Y, Tokura Y, Kiryukhin V, Koo TY, Cheong SW

73 (6): 723-730 DEC 2001
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We review our recent X-ray scattering studies of charge and orbital order in doped manganites, with specific emphasis on the role of orbital correlations in Pr-1_xCaxMnO3. For x = 0.25, we find an orbital structure indistinguishable from the undoped structure and long-range orbital order at low temperatures. For dopings 0.3 less than or equal to x less than or equal to 0.5, we find scattering consistent with a charge and orbitally ordered CE-type structure. While in each case the charge order peaks are resolution limited, the orbital order exhibits only short-range correlations. We report the doping dependence of the correlation length and discuss the connection between the orbital correlations and the finite magnetic correlation length observed on the Mn3+ sublattice with neutron-scattering techniques. The physical origin of these domains, which appear to be isotropic, remains unclear. We find that weak orbital correlations persist well above the phase transition, with a correlation length of 1-2 lattice constants at high temperatures. Significantly, we observe similar correlations at high temperatures in La0.7Ca0.3MnO3, which does not have an orbitally ordered ground state, and we conclude that such correlations are robust to variations in the relative strength of the electron-phonon coupling.

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