Orbital superexchange and crystal field simultaneously at play in YVO3: Resonant inelastic x-ray scattering at the V L edge and the O K edge

E. Benckiser*, L. Fels, G. Ghiringhelli, M. Moretti Sala, T. Schmitt, J. Schlappa, V. N. Strocov, N. Mufti, G. R. Blake, A. A. Nugroho, T. T. M. Palstra, M. W. Haverkort, K. Wohlfeld, M. Grueninger, M. Grüninger

*Corresponding author for this work

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We report on the observation of orbital excitations in YVO3 by means of resonant inelastic x-ray scattering (RIXS) at energies across the vanadium L-3 and oxygen K absorption edges. At the V L3 edge, we are able to resolve the full spectrum of orbital excitations up to 5 eV. In order to unravel the effect of superexchange interactions and the crystal field on the orbital excitations, we analyzed the energy and temperature dependence of the intra-t(2g) excitations at 0.1-0.2 eV in detail. While these results suggest a dominant influence of the crystal field, peak shifts of about 13-20 meV observed as a function of the transferred momentum q parallel to a reflect a finite dispersion of the orbital excitations. This is puzzling since theoretical models based on superexchange interactions predict a dispersion only for q parallel to c. Furthermore, we demonstrate that RIXS at the O K edge is very sensitive to intersite excitations. At the O K edge, we observe excitations across the Mott-Hubbard gap and an additional feature at 0.4 eV, which we attribute to two-orbiton scattering, i.e., an exchange of orbitals between adjacent sites. Altogether, our results indicate that both superexchange interactions and the crystal field are important for a quantitative understanding of the orbital excitations in YVO3.

Original languageEnglish
Article number205115
Pages (from-to)205115-1-205115-13
Number of pages13
JournalPhysical Review. B: Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 13-Nov-2013


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