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Phys Rev Lett. 2001 Jul 30;87(5):057203. Epub 2001 Jul 17.

Nuclear spin driven quantum relaxation in LiY0.998Ho0.002F4.

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Laboratoire de Magnétisme Louis Néel, CNRS, BP166, 38042 Grenoble Cedex-09, France.


Staircaselike hysteresis loops of the magnetization of a LiY0.998Ho0.002F4 single crystal are observed at subkelvin temperatures and low field sweep rates. This behavior results from quantum dynamics at avoided level crossings of the energy spectrum of single Ho3+ ions in the presence of hyperfine interactions. Enhanced quantum relaxation in constant transverse fields allows the study of the relative magnitude of tunnel splittings. At faster sweep rates, nonequilibrated spin-phonon and spin-spin transitions, mediated by weak dipolar interactions, lead to magnetization oscillations and additional steps.

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