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Role of defects in determining the magnetic ground state of ytterbium titanate

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-08598-z DOI Help

Authors: D. F. Bowman (Royal Holloway, University of London) , E. Cemal (Royal Holloway, University of London) , T. Lehner (Royal Holloway, University of London) , A. R. Wildes (Institut Laue-Langevin) , L. Mangin-thro (Institut Laue-Langevin) , G. J. Nilsen (Institut Laue-Langevin; ISIS Facility, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory) , M. J. Gutmann (ISIS Facility, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory) , D. J. Voneshen (ISIS Facility, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory) , D. Prabhakaran (University of Oxford) , A. T. Boothroyd (University of Oxford) , D. G. Porter (Diamond Light Source) , C. Castelnovo (University of Cambridge) , K. Refson (Royal Holloway, University of London; ISIS Facility, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory) , J. P. Goff (Royal Holloway and Bedford New College)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Nature Communications , VOL 10

State: Published (Approved)
Published: February 2019

Open Access Open Access

Abstract: Pyrochlore systems are ideally suited to the exploration of geometrical frustration in three dimensions, and their rich phenomenology encompasses topological order and fractional excitations. Classical spin ices provide the first context in which it is possible to control emergent magnetic monopoles, and anisotropic exchange leads to even richer behaviour associated with large quantum fluctuations. Whether the magnetic ground state of Yb2Ti2O7 is a quantum spin liquid or a ferromagnetic phase induced by a Higgs transition appears to be sample dependent. Here we have determined the role of structural defects on the magnetic ground state via the diffuse scattering of neutrons. We find that oxygen vacancies stabilise the spin liquid phase and the stuffing of Ti sites by Yb suppresses it. Samples in which the oxygen vacancies have been eliminated by annealing in oxygen exhibit a transition to a ferromagnetic phase, and this is the true magnetic ground state.

Keywords: Magnetic properties and materials; Phase transitions and critical phenomena; Structure of solids and liquids

Subject Areas: Materials, Physics

Synchrotron: ISIS