Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences


Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Dr. Kwok-Wai Ng


Transition metal oxides (TMO) have proven to exhibit novel properties such as high temperature superconductivity, magnetic ordering, charge and spin density waves, metal to insulator transitions and colossal magnetoresistance. Among these are a spin-orbit coupling (SOC) induced Mott insulator Sr2IrO4. The electric transport properties of this material remain finite even at cryogenic temperatures enabling its complex electronic structure to be investigated by a scanning tunneling microscope. At T = 77 K, we observed two features which represent the Mott gap with a value of 2D ~ 615 meV. Additionally an inelastic loss feature was observed inside this gap due to a single magnon excitation at an energy of ~ 125 meV. These features are consistent with similar measurements with other probes. In addition to these features, at T = 4.2 K lower energy features appear which are believed to be due to additional magnetic ordering. Another material that exhibits a unique physical behavior is the sliding charge density wave (CDW) material TaS3. It is a quasi-one dimensional material that forms long narrow ribbon shaped crystals. It exhibits anomalies including non-ohmic conductivity, a decrease in the Young’s modulus, a decrease in the shear modulus and voltage induced changes in the crystal’s overall length. In addition, we have observed the torsional piezo-like response, voltage induced torsional strain (VITS), in TaS3 which was first discovered by Pokrovskii et. al. in 2007. Our measurements were conducted with a helical resonator. The VITS response has a huge effective piezoelectric coefficient of ~ 104 cm/V. In addition we have concluded that the VITS is a very slow response with time constants of ~ 1 s near the CDW depinning threshold, that these time constants are dependent on the CDW current, and we suggest that the VITS is due to residual twists being initially present in the crystal.