Surface Charge Density Wave Transition in NbSe$_3$

Christophe Brun 1, Zhao-Zhong Wang 1, Pierre Monceau 2, Serguei Brazovskii 3

Physical Review Letters 104 (2010) 256403

The two charge-density wave (CDW) transitions in NbSe$_3$ %at wave numbers at $\bm{q_1}$ and $\bm{q_2}$, occurring at the surface were investigated by scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) on \emph{in situ} cleaved $(\bm{b},\bm{c})$ plane. The temperature dependence of first-order CDW satellite spots, obtained from the Fourier transform of the STM images, was measured between 5-140 K to extract the surface critical temperatures (T$_s$). The low T CDW transition occurs at T$_{2s}$=70-75 K, more than 15 K above the bulk T$_{2b}=59$K while at exactly the same wave number. %determined by x-ray diffraction experiments. Plausible mechanism for such an unusually high surface enhancement is a softening of transverse phonon modes involved in the CDW formation.% The large interval of the 2D regime allows to speculate on % %the special Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless type of the surface transition expected for this incommensurate CDW. This scenario is checked by extracting the temperature dependence of the order % %parameter correlation functions. The regime of 2D fluctuations is analyzed according to a Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless type of surface transition, expected for this incommensurate 2D CDW, by extracting the temperature dependence of the order parameter correlation functions.

  • 1. Laboratoire de photonique et de nanostructures (LPN),
    CNRS : UPR20
  • 2. Institut Néel (NEEL),
    CNRS : UPR2940 – Université Joseph Fourier - Grenoble I – Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble (INPG)
  • 3. Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques (LPTMS),
    CNRS : UMR8626 – Université Paris XI - Paris Sud