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Title: Unraveling the Orbital Physics in a Canonical Orbital System KCuF3
We explore the existence of the collective orbital excitations, orbitons, in the canonical orbital system KCuF3 using the Cu L3-edge resonant inelastic x-ray scattering. We show that the nondispersive highenergy peaks result from the Cu2þ dd orbital excitations. These high-energy modes display good agreement with the ab initio quantum chemistry calculation, indicating that the dd excitations are highly localized. At the same time, the low-energy excitations present clear dispersion. They match extremely well with the two-spinon continuum following the comparison with Müller ansatz calculations. The localized dd excitations and the observation of the strongly dispersive magnetic excitations suggest that the orbiton dispersion is below the resolution detection limit. Our results can reconcile with the strong local Jahn-Teller effect in KCuF3, which predominantly drives orbital ordering.
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Physical review letters
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National Science Foundation
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