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Title: Tuning the dimensionality and interactions in transition metal oxides : a μSR study
Author: Baker, Peter James
ISNI:       0000 0001 3439 9986
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis is concerned with how the physical properties of transition metal oxides change due to chemical substitution or intercalation. Experiments using the muon-spin relaxation and rotation (μSR) techniques were carried out at the ISIS Facility (UK) and the Paul Scherrer Institute (CH). In conjunction with the μSR results, the results of heat capacity and magnetic susceptibility experiments are used to provide complementary information on the same samples. Investigations of the properties of the layered triangular lattice magnets NaNiO2 and LiNiO2 are presented. For NaNiO2, all three experimental techniques are used to provide a full survey of the thermodynamic and magnetic properties of this compound. For LiNiO2, μSR studies of notionally stoichiometric and Mg-doped samples were carried out. These showed that Mg doping causes a significant change in the magnetic dynamics of the material, but neither sample exhibits long-range magnetic order. The magnetic ordering of the extensively studied perovskite compounds LaTiO3 and YTiO3 is investigated using μSR. The results were in agreement with previous neutron diffraction studies of the two compounds, but clarified the orientation of the magnetic moments in LaTiO3. It was also possible to make a detailed comparison between the μSR results and those of dipole field calculations of the magnetic field at possible muon stopping sites, allowing these to be deduced and compared with results in other well characterized transition metal oxides. The two titanium chain compounds NaTiSi2O6 and TiOCl exhibit spin gap formation at unusually high temperatures due to unconventional dimerization mechanisms. A model allowing the comparison of X-ray diffraction data, dimerization, and the magnitude of the spin gap is proposed. This is tested against both magnetic susceptibility and μSR data for both compounds. For NaTiSi2O6 both experimental techniques are in reasonable agreement, whereas in TiOCl the results are conclusively different. The origin of this disparity in TiOCl is explored. The intercalation of organic chain molecules into Bi based high-temperature superconductors has previously been demonstrated to extend the interlayer spacing by a factor of up to three without changing the superconducting transition temperature. μSR is used to investigate the London penetration depth, as a function of interlayer spacing, of two series of such samples. The results show a simple trend corresponding to a constant density of superconducting electron pairs in each layer. The consequences of this result are discussed in the context of previously identified scaling relations between superconducting parameters. Results of experiments excluding the possibility of magnetic order and muon-organic radical formation in these samples are presented, as well a preliminary study of the field distributions in a mosaic of intercalated crystallites.
Supervisor: Blundell, Stephen Sponsor: EPSRC ; CCLRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Condensed Matter Physics ; High-Temperature Superconductivity ; magnetism ; superconductivity ; muon spin rotation ; transition metal oxide