The path from a Mott insulating phase to high temperature superconductivity encounters a rich set of unconventional phenomena involving the insulator-to-metal transition (IMT), such as emergent electronic orders and pseudogaps, that ultimately affect the condensation of Cooper pairs. A huge hindrance to understanding the origin of these phenomena is the difficulty in accessing doping levels near the parent state. The Jeff = 1/2 Mott state of the perovskite strontium iridates has revealed intriguing parallels to the cuprates, with the advantage that it provides unique access to the Mott transition. Here, we exploit this accessibility to study the IMT and the possible nearby electronic orders in the electron-doped bilayer iridate (Sr1 − xLax)3Ir2O7. Using spectroscopic imaging scanning tunneling microscopy, we image the La dopants in the top as well as the interlayer SrO planes. Surprisingly, we find a disproportionate distribution of La between these layers with the interlayer La being primarily responsible for the IMT. This reveals the distinct site-dependent effects of dopants on the electronic properties of bilayer systems. Electron doping also results in charge reordering. We find unidirectional electronic order concomitant with the structural distortion known to exist in this system. Intriguingly, similar to the single layer iridate, we also find local resonant states forming a checkerboard-like pattern trapped by La. This suggests that multiple charge orders may exist simultaneously in Mott systems, even with only one band crossing the Fermi energy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics