Comprehensive inelastic neutron-scattering measurements were performed to study the soft optical phonons in La2-xSrxCuO4 at x = 0.10, 0.12 and 0.18. We found at x = 0.18 that the softening of Z-point phonon, suggesting incipient structural transition from the low-temperature orthorhombic (LTO) to low-temperature tetragonal (LTT) phase, breaks at Tc, which is consistent with the previous report by Lee et al. for the optimally doped x = 0.15 sample. As for x = 0.10 and 0.12, on the other hand, the softening continues even below Tc. It is thus clarified that the breaking of soft phonon is characteristic of La2-xSrxCuO4 in the optimally and overdoped regions. In the course of studying the soft phonons, we discovered that a central peak remains above the LTO to high-temperature tetragonal (HTT) phase transition at Ts1 and splits into incommensurate components along the [1 1 0]HTT direction at higher temperatures. This is a common feature for both x = 0.12 and 0.18 and their temperature dependences of the splitting 2δ can be scaled by using a renormalized temperature T/Tsl. In the high temperature limit, δ saturates around δ ∼ 0.12r.lu., which value is close to the splitting of incommensurate magnetic signals. This implies that the incipient lattice modulation starts appearing at very high temperature. Details of this modulation and its relations with other properties are, however, not yet clarified.
- Incommensurate structural diffuse peak
- Soft phonons
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)