A general quantitative measure of the tendency towards phase separation is introduced for systems exhibiting phase transitions or crossovers controlled by charge carrier concentration. This measure is devised for the situations when the quantitative knowledge of various contributions to free energy is incomplete, and is applied to evaluate the chances of electronic phase separation associated with the onset of antiferromagnetic correlations in high-temperature cuprate superconductors. The experimental phenomenology of lanthanum- and yittrium-based cuprates was used as input to this analysis. It is also pointed out that Coulomb repulsion between charge carriers separated by the distances of 1-3 lattice periods strengthens the tendency towards phase separation by accelerating the decay of antiferromagnetic correlations with doping. Overall, the present analysis indicates that cuprates are realistically close to the threshold of phase separation-nanoscale-limited in-plane or even macroscopic with charge density varying between adjacent crystal planes.
|Journal||Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics|
|Publication status||Published - 25 Jan 2008|