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Low temperature magnetic ordering of frustrated rare-earth pyrochlores

Briffa, Amy K.R. (2012)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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We study the low temperature magnetic ordering of rare-earth pyrochlores. The dominant magnetic interaction: nearest neighbour antiferromagnetic Heisenberg exchange, is frustrated with a macroscopic ground-state degeneracy. This degeneracy is lifted by weaker interactions, stabilising long-range order. First we study the dipolar governed gadolinium stannate with an external magnetic field. Factorising the Hamiltonian in terms of ten quadratics provides exact solutions to the over-constrained model with fields orientated along highly symmetrical directions.

Next we study the isostructural gadolinium titanate: the much more complex magnetism is indexed by a different propagation-vector to gadolinium stannate due to further neighbour exchange interactions. This material is controversial: elastic neutron scattering and Mössbauer experiments have been using contradictory interpretations. We propose a new state which appears to resolve this inconsistency.

Finally we model erbium titanate, which is approached differently due to the dominant crystal-field. Existing elastic neutron scattering data is reexamined and found inconsistent with the state currently discussed in the literature so we suggest an unusual multiple-q state. The spins are not orientated along the expected crystal-field direction: a consequence of frustration. Energetics are studied phenomenologically. We suggest that experimentally observed gapless spin-waves control transfer of spin density between different q-points of the proposed state.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Schofield, Andrew J.
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
Department:School of Physics And Astronomy
Subjects:QC Physics
TN Mining engineering. Metallurgy
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3722
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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