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Ferroelectric spiral magnets DyMnO3 and TbMnO3 show similar behavior of electric polarization in applied magnetic fields. Studies of the field dependence of lattice modulations on the contrary show a completely different picture. Whereas in TbMnO3 the polarization flop from P||c to P||a is accompanied by a sudden change from incommensurate to commensurate wave vector modulation, in DyMnO3 the wave vector varies continuously through the flop transition. This smooth behavior may be related to the giant magnetocapacitive effect observed in DyMnO3.
Short-range lattice superstructures have been studied with high-energy x-ray diffuse scattering in underdoped, optimally doped, and overdoped $\rm (Y,Ca)Ba_2 Cu_3 O_{6+x}$. A new four-unit-cell superstructure was observed in compounds with $x\sim 0.95$. Its temperature, doping, and material dependence was used to attribute its origin to short-range oxygen vacancy ordering, rather than electronic instabilities in the $\rm CuO_2$ layers. No significant diffuse scattering is observed in YBa$_2$Cu$_4$O$_{8}$. The oxygen superstructures must be taken into account when interpreting spectral anomalies in $\rm (Y,Ca)Ba_2 Cu_3 O_{6+x}$.
We unambiguously demonstrate, based on high-energy x-ray diffraction data and LDA calculations, that sodium-density stripes are formed in Na0.75CoO2 at low temperatures and rule out the previously proposed Na-ordering models. The LDA calculations prove, that the sodium-density stripes lead to a sizeable dip in the density of the Co-states at the Fermi level, pointing to band structure effects as a driving force for the stripe formation. This indicates that the sodium ordering is connected to stripe-like charge correlations within the CoO2 layers, leading to an astonishing similarity between the doped cuprates and the NaxCoO2 compounds.
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