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Phys Rev Lett. 2011 Jun 17;106(24):247202. Epub 2011 Jun 16.

Magnetostructural transitions in a frustrated magnet at high fields.

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Experimental Physics 5, Center for Electronic Correlations and Magnetism, Institute of Physics, University of Augsburg, Augsburg, Germany.


Ultrasound and magnetization studies of bond-frustrated ZnCr(2)S(4) spinel are performed in static magnetic fields up to 18 T and in pulsed fields up to 62 T. At temperatures below the antiferromagnetic transition at T(N1)≈14  K, the sound velocity as a function of the magnetic field reveals a sequence of steps followed by plateaus indicating a succession of crystallographic structures with constant stiffness. At the same time, the magnetization evolves continuously with a field up to full magnetic polarization without any plateaus in contrast to geometrically frustrated chromium oxide spinels. The observed high-field magnetostructural states are discussed within a H-T phase diagram taking into account the field and temperature evolution of three coexisting spin structures and subsequent lattice transformations induced by the magnetic field.

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