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Tiny Sc Allows the Chains to Rattle: Impact of Lu and Y Doping on the Charge-Density Wave in ScV6Sn6

Publication Type
Journal Name
Journal of the American Chemical Society
Publication Date
Page Numbers
20943 to 20950

The kagome metals display an intriguing variety of electronic and magnetic phases arising from the connectivity of atoms on a kagome lattice. A growing number of these materials with vanadium–kagome nets host charge–density waves (CDWs) at low temperatures, including ScV6Sn6, CsV3Sb5, and V3Sb2. Curiously, only the Sc version of the RV6Sn6 materials with a HfFe6Ge6-type structure hosts a CDW (R = Gd–Lu, Y, Sc). In this study, we investigate the role of rare earth size in CDW formation in the RV6Sn6 compounds. Magnetization measurements on our single crystals of (Sc,Lu)V6Sn6 and (Sc,Y)V6Sn6 establish that the CDW is suppressed by substituting Sc by larger Lu or Y. Single-crystal X-ray diffraction reveals that compressible Sn–Sn bonds accommodate the larger rare earth atoms within loosely packed R–Sn–Sn chains without significantly expanding the lattice. We propose that Sc provides extra room in these chains crucial to CDW formation in ScV6Sn6. Our rattling chain model explains why both physical pressure and substitution by larger rare earth atoms hinder CDW formation despite opposite impacts on lattice size. We emphasize the cooperative effect of pressure and rare earth size by demonstrating that pressure further suppresses the CDW in a Lu-doped ScV6Sn6 crystal. Our model not only addresses why a CDW only forms in the RV6Sn6 materials with tiny Sc but also advances our understanding of why unusual CDWs form in the kagome metals.