Year of Publication

2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Dr. Gang Cao

Abstract

A unique feature of the 5d-iridates is that the spin-orbit interaction (SOI) and Coulomb interactions U are of comparable strength and therefore compete vigorously. The relative strength of these interactions stabilizes new exotic ground states that provide a fertile ground for studying new physics. SOI is proportional to Z^4 (Z is the atomic number), and it is now recognized that strong SOI can drive novel narrow-gap insulating states in heavy transition metal oxides such as iridates. Indeed, strong SOI necessarily introduces strong lattice degrees of freedom that become critical to new physics in the iridates. This dissertation thoroughly examines a wide array of newly observed novel phenomena induced by adjusting the relative strengths of U and SOI interactions via slight chemical doping and application of hydrostatic pressure in the layered iridates, particularly, BaIrO3 and Sr2IrO4.

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