Damped orbital excitations in the titanates

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A possible mechanism for the removal of the orbital degeneracy in RTiO3 (where R = La, Y, …) is considered. The calculation is based on the Kugel-Khomskii Hamiltonian for electrons residing in the t2g orbitals of the Ti ions, and uses a self-consistent perturbation expansion in the interaction between the orbital and the spin degrees of freedom. The latter are assumed to be ordered in a Néel state, brought about by delicate interactions that are not included in the Kugel-Khomskii Hamiltonian. Within our model calculations, each of the t2g bands is found to acquire a finite, temperature-dependent dispersion that lifts the orbital degeneracy. The orbital excitations are found to be heavily damped over a rather wide band. Consequently, they do not participate as a separate branch of excitations in the low-temperature thermodynamics.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number21
StatePublished - 13 Jun 2003


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