Atomic structure and Mott nature of the insulating charge density wave phase of 1T-TaS2

V. Petkov, J. E. Peralta, B. Aoun, Y. Ren

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Using x-ray pair distribution function (PDF) analysis and computer modeling, we explore structure models for the complex charge density wave (CDW) phases of layered 1T-TaS2 that both well capture their atomic-level features and are amenable to electronic structure calculations. The models give the most probable position of constituent atoms in terms of 3D repetitive unit cells comprising a minimum number of Ta-S layers. Structure modeling results confirm the emergence of star-of-David (SD) like clusters of Ta atoms in the high-temperature incommensurate (IC) CDW phase and show that, contrary to the suggestions of recent studies, the low-temperature commensurate (C) CDW phase expands upon cooling thus reducing lattice strain. The C-CDW phase is also found to preserve the stacking sequence of Ta-S layers found in the room temperature, nearly commensurate (NC) CDW phase to a large extent. DFT based on the PDF refined model shows that bulk C-CDW 1T-TaS2 also preserves the insulating state of individual layers of SD clusters, favoring the Mott physics description of the metal-to-insulator (NC-CDW to C-CDW) phase transition in 1T-TaS2. Our work highlights the importance of using precise crystal structure models in determining the nature of electronic phases in complex materials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number345401
JournalJournal of Physics: Condensed Matter
Issue number34
StatePublished - Aug 24 2022


  • atomic structure
  • charge density waves
  • total x-ray scattering


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