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Structural phase transition in IrTe2: A combined study of optical spectroscopy
and band structure calculations
A. F. Fang, G. Xu, T. Dong, P. Zheng, and N. L. Wang
Beijing National Laboratory for Condensed Matter Physics, Institute of Physics,
Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, People’s Republic of China
Transition metal dichalcogenides are layered compounds exhibiting a variety of different
ground states and physical properties. Among the different polytypes, the compounds with 1T and
2H structural forms TX2 (T=transition metal, X=chalcogen) have attracted particular attention.
Those compounds consist of stacked layers of 2D-triangular lattices of transition metals (e.g., Ti,
Ta or Nb) sandwiched between layers of chalcogen atoms (e.g., S, Se or Te) with octahedral and
trigonal prismatic coordinations, respectively. The low dimensionality of those systems often
leads to charge density wave (CDW) instability. Yet, a number of those CDW bearing materials
are also superconducting. Recently, the 5d transitional metal ditelleride IrTe2 has added to the
interest. The compound has a layered 1T structure consisting of edge-sharing IrTe6 octahedra, and
exhibits a structural phase transition near 270 K [1]. It was found very recently that both Pt or Pd
intercalations and substitutions could induce bulk superconductivity with Tc up to 3 K [2,3]. Since
both Ir and Te possess large atomic numbers, strong spin-orbital coupling must be present in those
compounds, which may induce topologically nontrivial state. There is a possibility that the Pt or
Pd intercalated or substituted compounds are better candidates for topological superconductors
duo to its improved superconductivity in comparison with CuxBi2Se3[4].
IrTe2 exhibits an interesting interplay between superconductivity and a structural phase
transition at 280 K. Understanding this structural transition is a crucial step towards understanding
the electronic properties of the material. We present a combined optical spectroscopy and band
structure calculation study on the compound across the transition. The study reveals that IrTe2 is a
good metal with a rather high plasma frequency. The phase transition leads to a reconstruction of
band structure and significant reduction of the conducting carriers. We elaborate that the transition
is not driven by the density wave type instability but caused by the crystal field effect which
further splits/separates the energy levels of Te (px, py) and Te pz bands. The kinetic energy of the
electrons is reduced due to an increased occupation of the further lowered Te (px , py) energy
levels. IrTe2 system is firstly discovered to be diamagnetic. We elaborate the unusual
diamagnetism attributes to plenty of closed electronic shells of element Iridium. The optical
spectroscopy study for nominal Ir0.95Pt0.05Te2 single crystals reveals novel
temperature-dependent inter-band transitions which already emerge in quite low energy. This can
be clarified by the temperature-dependent densities of conducting carriers from the energy bands
crossing the Fermi surface.
Key Words: structural phase transition, superconductivity, topological superconductor.
N. Matsumoto et al., J. Low Temp. Phys. 117, 1129 (1999).
J. J. Yang et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 116402 (2012).
S. S. Pyon et al., J. Phys. Soc. Jpn. 81, 053701 (2012).
M. Kriener et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 127004 (2011).