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Modification of Spin-Ice Physics in Ho2Ti2O7 Thin Films



Kevin Barry, Biwen Zhang, Naween Anand, Yan Xin, Arturas Vailionis, Jennifer Neu, Colin A Heikes, Charis Cochran, Haidong Zhou, Yiming Qiu, William D. Ratcliff, Theo Siegrist, Christianne Beekman


We report on a study of the structural and magnetic properties of strained Ho2Ti2O7 thin films. Structural characterization via synchrotron x-ray diffraction confirms good crystallinity of our films and shows a critical thickness slightly below 50 nm. Neutron scattering maps of our films show a Q = 0 structure indicating that the spin ice physics is preserved in the films. Magnetization measurements with a field applied in the film plane confirm this and show markedly linear behavior in the xT vs. 1/T curve for 2 K {less than or equal to} T {less than or equal to} 5 K similar to that previously observed by others in single crystals. Furthermore, for fields applied along the [111] direction, out of the film plane, we observe a more parabolic behavior, which is treated as two linear regions with an interesting slope change around 3 K that could be a signature of the transition to the paramagnetic "hot" phase repeated by others in single crystals. From the linear regions we extract the value for nearest neighbor superexchange interactions (Js) between the Ho ions. We find similar values compared to reported bulk values for the interaction strength, again signaling the preservation of spin ice physics in strained thin films.
Physical Review Materials


spin ice, frustrated magnetism, thin film, neutron scattering
Created August 16, 2019, Updated January 15, 2020