Pressure-Induced Site-Selective Mott Insulator-Metal Transition in Fe2 O3

Eran Greenberg*, Ivan Leonov, Samar Layek, Zuzana Konopkova, Moshe P. Pasternak, Leonid Dubrovinsky, Raymond Jeanloz, Igor A. Abrikosov, Gregory Kh Rozenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We provide experimental and theoretical evidence for a pressure-induced Mott insulator-metal transition in Fe2O3 characterized by site-selective delocalization of the electrons. Density functional plus dynamical mean-field theory (DFT+DMFT) calculations, along with Mössbauer spectroscopy, x-ray diffraction, and electrical transport measurements on Fe2O3 up to 100 GPa, reveal this site-selective Mott transition between 50 and 68 GPa, such that the metallization can be described by (Fe3+HSVI)2O3 [R3-c structure]→50 GPa(Fe3+HSVIII FeVIM)O3 [P21/n structure]→68 GPa(FeMVI)2O3[Aba2/PPv structure]. Within the P21/n crystal structure, characterized by two distinct coordination sites (VI and VIII), we observe equal abundances of ferric ions (Fe3+) and ions having delocalized electrons (FeM), and only at higher pressures is a fully metallic high-pressure structure obtained, all at room temperature. Thereby, the transition is characterized by delocalization/metallization of the 3d electrons on half the Fe sites, with a site-dependent collapse of local moments. Above approximately 50 GPa, Fe2O3 is a strongly correlated metal with reduced electron mobility (large band renormalizations) of m∗/m∼4 and 6 near the Fermi level. Importantly, upon decompression, we observe a site-selective (metallic) to conventional Mott insulator phase transition (Fe3+HSVIII FeVIM)O3→50 GPa(Fe3+HSVIII FeVI3+HS)O3 within the same P21/n structure, indicating a decoupling of the electronic and lattice degrees of freedom. Our results offer a model for understanding insulator-metal transitions in correlated electron materials, showing that the interplay of electronic correlations and crystal structure may result in rather complex behavior of the electronic and magnetic states of such compounds.

Original languageEnglish
Article number031059
JournalPhysical Review X
Issue number3
StatePublished - 10 Sep 2018


FundersFunder number
U.S. Department of Energy
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Swedish e-Science Research Centre
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian FederationK3-2016-027
Linköpings Universitet2009 00971
Israel Science Foundation1189/14
Russian Science Foundation18-12-00492


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