Emergence of a real-space symmetry axis in the magnetoresistance of the one-dimensional conductor Li0.9Mo6O17

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Science Advances  05 Jul 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 7, eaar8027
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aar8027


We report on an emerging symmetry axis in the magnetoresistance of bulk single crystals of quasi–one-dimensional Li0.9Mo6O17 below Tmin = 25 K, the temperature at which the electrical resistivity experiences a minimum. Detailed angle-dependent magnetoresistance sweeps reveal that this symmetry axis is induced by the development of a negative magnetoresistance, which is suppressed only for magnetic fields oriented along the poles of the MoO6 octahedra that form the conducting chains. We show that this unusual negative magnetoresistance is consistent with the melting of dark excitons, composed of previously omitted orbitals within the t2g manifold that order below Tmin. The unveiled symmetry axis in directional magnetic fields not only provides evidence for the crystallization of these dark excitons but also sheds new light on the long-standing mystery of the metal-insulator transition in Li0.9Mo6O17.

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