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Inelastic x-ray scattering experiments have been performed on incommensurately modulated Te-III at high pressure and reveal a pronounced phonon anomaly. The anomaly is reproduced in first-principles lattice dynamics calculations of unmodulated, body-centered monoclinic (bcm) Te, which is shown to be dynamically unstable. The calculated Fermi surface of bcm Te exhibits surprisingly effective nesting for a simple, electronically three-dimensional metal. The combined experimental and theoretical results corroborate recent proposals that the modulated crystal structure of Te-III and other chalcogens is the manifestation of a pressure-induced charge-density wave state.
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