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Orbital degree of freedom in high entropy oxides

Jiaqiang YanAbinash KumarMiaofang ChiMatthew BrahlekThomas Z WardMichael McGuire
Nov 2023
The spin, charge, and lattice degrees of freedom and their interplay in high entropy oxides were intensively investigated in recent years. However, how the orbital degree of freedom is affected by the extreme disorder in high entropy oxides hasn't been studied. In this work, using perovskite structured \textit{R}VO$_3$ as a materials playground, we report how the disorder arising from mixing different rare earth ions at the rare earth site affects the orbital ordering of V$^{3+}$ t$_{2g}$-electrons. Since each member of \textit{R}VO$_3$ crystallizes into the same orthorhombic \textit{Pbnm} structure, the configurational entropy should not be critical for the success synthesis of (\textit{R}$_1$,...,\textit{R}$_n$)VO$_3$. The spin and orbital ordering was studied by measuring magnetic properties and specific heat of single crystals. Rather than the number and type of rare earth ions, the average ionic radius and size variance are the key factors determining the spin and orbital order in (\textit{R}$_1$,...,\textit{R}$_n$)VO$_3$. When the size variance is small, the average ionic radius takes precedence in dictating spin and orbital order. Increasing size variance suppresses the G-type orbital order and C-type magnetic order but favors the C-OO/G-AF state and the spin-orbital entanglement. These findings suggest that the extreme disorder introduced by mixing multiple rare earth ions in high entropy perovskites might be employed to preserve the orbital degree of freedom to near the magnetic ordering temperature, which is necessary for the electronic driven orbital ordering in a Kugel-Khomskii compound.
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