Fluctuating defects in the incipient relaxorK1−xLixTaO3(x=0.02)

C. Stock, P. M. Gehring, G. Xu, D. Lamago, D. Reznik, M. Russina, J. Wen, L. A. Boatner
2014 Physical Review B  
We report neutron scattering measurements of the structural correlations associated with the apparent relaxor transition in K$_{1-x}$Li$_x$TaO$_3$ for $x=0.02$ (KLT(0.02)). This compound displays a broad and frequency-dependent peak in the dielectric permittivity, which is the accepted hallmark of all relaxors. However, no evidence of elastic diffuse scattering or any soft mode anomaly is observed in KLT(0.02) [J. Wen et al., Phys. Rev. B 78, 144202 (2008)], a situation that diverges from that
more » ... diverges from that in other relaxors such as PbMg$_{1/3}$Nb$_{2/3}$O$_3$. We resolve this dichotomy by showing that the structural correlations associated with the transition in KLT(0.02) are purely dynamic at all temperatures, having a timescale on the order of $\sim$THz. These fluctuations are overdamped, non-propagating, and spatially uncorrelated. Identical measurements made on pure KTaO$_3$ show that they are absent (within experimental error) in the undoped parent material. They exhibit a temperature dependence that correlates well with the dielectric response, which suggests that they are associated with local ferroelectric regions induced by the Li$^+$ doping. The ferroelectric transition that is induced by the introduction of Li$^+$ cations is therefore characterized by quasistatic fluctuations, which represents a stark contrast to the soft harmonic-mode-driven transition observed in conventional perovskite ferroelectrics like PbTiO$_3$. The dynamic, glass-like, structural correlations in KLT(0.02) are much faster than those measured in random-field-based lead-based relaxors, which exhibit a frequency scale of order of $\sim$GHz and are comparatively better correlated spatially. Our results support the view that random fields give rise to the relaxor phenomena, and that the glass-like dynamics observed here characterize a nascent response.
doi:10.1103/physrevb.90.224302 fatcat:xsmfgnvblvdqpneeex7ly4svam