There is considerable evidence from new generations of high resolution microscopies and scattering techniques for intrinsically multiscale structures and dynamics in complex transition-metal oxides. In particular, the coexistence of submicrometer-size insulating and metallic domains in the same sample of perovskite manganites is believed to be crucial to the understanding of colossal magnetoresistance in these materials, and has been a puzzle to both theorists and experimentalists. In this work, we demonstrate, using an atomic-scale description of lattice distortions and long-range strains, that the presence of multiple local energy minimum states with different distortions provides a natural mechanism for such multiphase coexistence within the same material. The framework provides a basis for engineering nanoscale patterns of metallic and insulating phases and understanding other novel features observed in manganites, such as precursor short-range ordering and quasielastic scattering near the phase-transition temperature, hysteretic and glassy dynamics, metastability, and photoinduced insulator-metal transition.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)