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Magnetic frustration, phase competition, and the magnetoelectric effect in NdFe3(BO3)4

AuthorsHamann-Borrero, J. E.; Mazzoli, Claudio; Herrero Martín, Javier
Issue Date2012
PublisherAmerican Physical Society
CitationPhysical Review Letters 109: 267202 (2012)
AbstractWe present an element selective resonant magnetic x-ray scattering study of NdFe3(BO3)4 as a function of temperature and applied magnetic field. Our measurements show that the magnetic order of the Nd sublattice is induced by the Fe spin order. When a magnetic field is applied parallel to the hexagonal basal plane, the helicoidal spin order is suppressed and a collinear ordering, where the moments are forced to align in a direction perpendicular to the applied magnetic field, is stabilized. This result excludes a noncollinear spin order as the origin of the magnetically induced electric polarization in this compound. Instead our data imply that magnetic frustration results in a phase competition, which is the origin of the magnetoelectric response.
DescriptionPACS numbers: 75.85.+t, 75.25. j, 75.30.Et, 78.70.Ck.-- et al.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.109.267202
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