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Title: Quantum materials explored by neutron scattering
Author: Babkevich, Peter
ISNI:       0000 0004 2729 5179
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis describes neutron scattering experiments on strongly correlated systems exhibiting a range of emergent phenomena: antiferromagnetism, charge order, superconductivity and multiferroicity. I have examined the La_{2}CoO_{4} compound which is a Mott insulator and orders antiferromagnetically near room temperature. The La_{2}CoO_{4} sample was studied using spherical neutron polarimetry and I present magnetic structure models to describe the two antiferromagnetic phases of the compound. Furthermore, the magnetic fluctuations have been investigated using neutron time-of-flight technique. This has allowed us to extract the dominant exchange interactions in the system. More interestingly, the work on La_{2}CoO_{4} presented in this thesis provides a basis for the experimental evidence of an hourglass dispersion in La_{5/3}Sr_{1/3}CoO_{4}, previously only observed in the copper oxide based superconductors. This dispersion has been understood in terms of a stripe ordered magnetic phase and was found to be well described by a linear spin-wave model. Neutron scattering experiments were also carried out on the new iron-based high-temperature superconductors, FeSe_{x}Te_{1−x}. A range of compositions were studied, including both antiferromagnetically ordered and superconducting. Below the superconducting phase transition temperature, a spin resonance mode was found centred on the antiferromagnetic wavevector. This is an important feature shared by many unconventional superconductors. The spin resonance intensity was found to reflect the order parameter of the superconducting state. Polarised inelastic neutron scattering experiments have revealed a small anisotropy between the in-plane and out-of-plane magnetic fluctuations at the resonance. This anisotropy cannot be readily explained by the usual anisotropic terms in the Hamiltonian. This could be evidence of new physics in the FeSe_{x}Te_{1−x} superconductors. Finally, I have studied CuO – a high-temperature multiferroic. Analysis of polarised neutron diffraction experiments shows that the magnetic domain population can be varied using an externally applied electric field. This unambiguously demonstrates coupling between the magnetic and ferroelectric degrees of freedom. Using representation analysis I derive the incommensurate magnetic structure in the multiferroic phase. The origin of the magnetoelectric coupling is consistent with models based on the inverse Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction.
Supervisor: Boothroyd, A. T. Sponsor: EPSRC ; Paul Scherrer Institute
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: High-Temperature Superconductivity ; Condensed Matter Physics ; neutrons - scattering ; superconductivity ; magnetism