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Charge density waves in infinite-layer NdNiO2 nickelates

Abstract

In materials science, much effort has been devoted to the reproduction of superconductivity in chemical compositions, analogous to cuprate superconductors since their discovery over 30 years ago. This approach was recently successful in realising superconductivity in infinite-layer nickelates1,2,3,4,5,6. Although differing from cuprates in electronic and magnetic properties, strong Coulomb interactions suggest that infinite-layer nickelates have a propensity towards various symmetry-breaking orders that populate cuprates7,8,9,10. Here we report the observation of charge density waves (CDWs) in infinite-layer NdNiO2 films using Ni L3 resonant X-ray scattering. Remarkably, CDWs form in Nd 5d and Ni 3d orbitals at the same commensurate wavevector (0.333, 0) reciprocal lattice units, with non-negligible out-of-plane dependence and an in-plane correlation length of up to ~60 Å. Spectroscopic studies reveal a strong connection between CDWs and Nd 5d–Ni 3d orbital hybridization. Upon entering the superconducting state at 20% Sr doping, the CDWs disappear. Our work demonstrates the existence of CDWs in infinite-layer nickelates with a multiorbital character distinct from cuprates, which establishes their low-energy physics.

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Fig. 1: CDWs in the parent NdNiO2 thin film NNO2-1.
Fig. 2: Nd 5d–Ni 3d orbital hybridization and CDW in NdNiO2 and superconducting Nd0.8Sr0.2NiO2.
Fig. 3: L dependence of CDW in NdNiO2.
Fig. 4: Temperature dependence of CDW in NdNiO2.

Data availability

All data supporting the findings of this study are available in the Supplementary Information and are deposited in the Zenodo repository at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6778273. Further information is available from the corresponding authors on reasonable request.

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Acknowledgements

We thank M. Dean and W.-S. Lee for insightful discussions. All data were taken at the I21 RIXS beamline of Diamond Light Source (UK) using the RIXS spectrometer designed, built and owned by Diamond Light Source. We thank Diamond Light Source for providing beamtime under proposal ID NT30296. We acknowledge T. Rice for technical support throughout the experiments. C.C.T. acknowledges funding from Diamond Light Source and the University of Bristol under joint doctoral studentship no. STU0372. L.Q. and H.L. acknowledge support from NSFC (grant nos. 11774044, 52072059 and 11822411) and SPRP-B of CAS (grant no. XDB25000000). K.-J.Z. and H.L. acknowledge support from NSF of Beijing (grant no. JQ19002).

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K.-J.Z. conceived and supervised the project. C.C.T., J.C., K.-J.Z., S.A., M.G.-F. and A.N. performed XAS and RIXS measurements. C.C.T., J.C. and K.-J.Z. analysed RIXS data. L.Q., X.D. and L.H. synthesized and characterized thin film samples. M.W. and P.G. performed STEM measurements. All authors contributed to the discussion and interpretation of results. K.-J.Z., C.C.T. and J.C. wrote the manuscript with comments from all authors.

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Correspondence to Liang Qiao or Ke-Jin Zhou.

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Supplementary Figs. 1–16, Table 1 and Notes 1–4.

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Tam, C.C., Choi, J., Ding, X. et al. Charge density waves in infinite-layer NdNiO2 nickelates. Nat. Mater. (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41563-022-01330-1

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