Research ArticlePHYSICS

Probing spin correlations using angle-resolved photoemission in a coupled metallic/Mott insulator system

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Science Advances  07 Feb 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 6, eaaz0611
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz0611

Abstract

A nearly free electron metal and a Mott insulating state can be thought of as opposite ends of the spectrum of possibilities for the motion of electrons in a solid. Understanding their interaction lies at the heart of the correlated electron problem. In the magnetic oxide metal PdCrO2, nearly free and Mott-localized electrons exist in alternating layers, forming natural heterostructures. Using angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy, quantitatively supported by a strong coupling analysis, we show that the coupling between these layers leads to an “intertwined” excitation that is a convolution of the charge spectrum of the metallic layer and the spin susceptibility of the Mott layer. Our findings establish PdCrO2 as a model system in which to probe Kondo lattice physics and also open new routes to use the a priori nonmagnetic probe of photoemission to gain insights into the spin susceptibility of correlated electron materials.

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