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Phys Rev Lett. 2004 Nov 5;93(19):197203. Epub 2004 Nov 5.

Half-magnetization plateau stabilized by structural distortion in the antiferromagnetic heisenberg model on a pyrochlore lattice.

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Research Institute for Theoretical Solid State Physics and Optics, H-1525 Budapest, P.O.B. 49, Hungary.


Magnetization plateaus, visible as anomalies in magnetic susceptibility at low temperatures, are one of the hallmarks of frustrated magnetism. We show how an extremely robust half-magnetization plateau can arise from coupling between spin and lattice degrees of freedom in a pyrochlore antiferromagnet and develop a detailed symmetry of analysis of the simplest possible scenario for such a plateau state. The application of this theory to the spinel oxides CdCr2O4 and HgCr2O4, where a robust half-magnetization plateau has been observed, is discussed.

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