Ordering phenomena in quasi-one-dimensional organic conductors
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Low-dimensional organic conductors could establish themselves as model systems for the investigation of the physics in reduced dimensions. In the metallic state of a one-dimensional solid, Fermi liquid theory breaks down and spin and charge degrees of freedom become separated. But the metallic phase is not stable in one dimension: as the temperature is reduced, the electronic charge and spin tend to arrange themselves in an ordered fashion due to strong correlations. The competition of the different interactions is responsible for which broken-symmetry ground state is eventually realized in a specific compound and which drives the system toward an insulating state. Here, we review the various ordering phenomena and how they can be identified by optic and magnetic measurements. While the final results might look very similar in the case of a charge density wave and a charge-ordered metal, for instance, the physical cause is completely different. When density waves form, a gap opens in the density of states at the Fermi energy due to nesting of the one-dimension Fermi surface sheets. When a one-dimensional metal becomes a charge-ordered Mott insulator, on the other hand, the short-range Coulomb repulsion localizes the charge on the lattice sites and even causes certain charge patterns. We try to point out the similarities and conceptional differences of these phenomena and give an example for each of them. Particular emphasis will be put on collective phenomena that are inherently present as soon as ordering breaks the symmetry of the system.