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J Phys Condens Matter. 2013 Mar 6;25(9):094002. doi: 10.1088/0953-8984/25/9/094002. Epub 2013 Feb 12.

Exploring highly correlated materials via electron pair emission: the case of NiO/Ag(100).

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Max-Planck Institut für Mikrostrukturphysik, Weinberg 2, D-06120 Halle, Germany.


Metal oxides like NiO are usually termed 'highly correlated', because the material properties are decisively determined by the electron-electron interaction. This makes them interesting candidates for electron pair spectroscopy which is particularly sensitive to the electron correlation. We have prepared ultrathin NiO/Ag(100) films and studied the electron pair emission upon electron impact. Compared to the metal substrate we observe an increase of the coincidence intensity by a factor of 8 for NiO. Thickness dependent measurements prove that this enhancement is an intrinsic effect rather than due to a mean free path increase of the oxide. The Néel temperature T(N) of NiO films displays a thickness dependence which allows us to tune T(N). We performed temperature dependent measurements and observed no temperature dependence of the coincidence spectra. This proves that the electron pair emission probes the local correlation rather than long range order. An enhanced coincidence intensity was also found for other oxide phases compared to their corresponding metal phases.

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