Two Studies in Incommensurate Charge Order

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Incommensurate charge order is a phenomenon in which the electrons in a crystal attempt to order with a period irrationally-related to that of

the lattice spacing. In the first half of this talk I will present recent work [1] in which we demonstrate that incommensurately charge-ordered systems can lower their free energy by forming quasicrystals: slices through higher-dimensional crystals with properties lying between periodicity and disorder. The result potentially greatly increases the number of known, naturally-occuring quasicrystals from the two present examples, both of which were found in the same Siberian meteorite. In the second half I will present work from an ongoing experimental collaboration in which atomically-resolved scanning tunneling microscopy and atomic force microscopy on semiconducting monolayers of molybdenum diselenide (MoSe2) see conducting edge states along one-dimensional mirror twin boundaries. Remarkably, these edge states then develop their own energy gap via charge ordering [2]. We see a number of features suggestive of incommensurate order. By employing a simple analytical model we demonstrate that the effect is in fact a result of fine-tuning between charge ordering and quantum well physics coming from the small system size (on the order of thirty atoms).

[1] F. Flicker and Jasper van Wezel, Physical Review Letters 115, 236401

(2015), Natural 1D Quasicrystals from Incommensurate Charge Order

[2] S. Barja et al., Nature Physics 12, 751-757 (2016), Charge density

wave order in 1D mirror twin boundaries of single-layer MoSe2