The electronic structure of BaFe2X3 (X = S and Se) and CsFe2Se3 in which two-leg ladders are formed by the Fe sites are studied by means of x-ray absorption and resonant inelastic x-ray scattering spectroscopy. The x-ray absorption spectra at the Fe L edges for BaFe2X3 exhibit two components, indicating that itinerant and localized Fe 3d sites coexist. Substantial x-ray linear dichroism is observed in polarization dependent spectra, indicating the existence of orbital order or fluctuation in the Fe ladder even above the Néel temperature TN. Direct exchange interaction along the legs of the Fe ladder stabilizes the orbital and antiferromagnetic orders in BaFe2S3, while the ferromagnetic molecular orbitals are realized between the rungs in CsFe2Se3.
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