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Phys Rev Lett. 2007 May 4;98(18):186101. Epub 2007 May 1.

Fluctuations and phase separation in a quasi-one-dimensional system.

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Institute of Physical Chemistry, University of Innsbruck, Innrain 52a, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria.


Phase transitions in a quasi-one-dimensional surface system on a metal substrate are investigated as a function of temperature. Upon cooling the system shows a loss of long-range order, fluctuations, and a transition into an inhomogeneous ground state due to competition of local adsorbate-adsorbate interactions with an incommensurate charge density wave. This agrees with a general phase diagram for correlated systems and high-temperature superconductors. The model surface system allows direct imaging of the fluctuations and the glassy inhomogeneous ground state by scanning tunneling microscopy.

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