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Friday, 14 December, 2007

Mott Transition in VO2 Revealed by Infrared Spectroscopy and Nano-Imaging

M. M. Qazilbash, M. Brehm, Byung-Gyu Chae, P.-C. Ho, G. O. Andreev, Bong-Jun Kim, Sun Jin Yun, A. V. Balatsky, M. B. Maple, F. Keilmann, Hyun-Tak Kim, D. N. Basov -
Science Vol. 318. no. 5857 (2007)

Electrons in correlated insulators are prevented from conducting by Coulomb repulsion between them. When an insulator-to-metal transition is induced in a correlated insulator by doping or heating, the resulting conducting state can be radically different from that characterized by free electrons in conventional metals. We report on the electronic properties of a prototypical correlated insulator vanadium dioxide in which the metallic state can be induced by increasing temperature. Scanning near-field infrared microscopy allows us to directly image nanoscale metallic puddles that appear at the onset of the insulator-to-metal transition. In combination with far-field infrared spectroscopy, the data reveal the Mott transition with divergent quasi-particle mass in the metallic puddles. The experimental approach used sets the stage for investigations of charge dynamics on the nanoscale in other inhomogeneous correlated electron systems. 


Article on the journal's website