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Phys Rev Lett. 2013 Aug 2;111(5):057202. Epub 2013 Aug 2.

Ferromagnetic exchange anisotropy from antiferromagnetic superexchange in the mixed 3d-5d transition-metal compound Sr3CuIrO6.

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Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Science Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York 11973, USA.


We report a combined experimental and theoretical study of the unusual ferromagnetism in the one-dimensional copper-iridium oxide Sr(3)CuIrO(6). Utilizing Ir L(3) edge resonant inelastic x-ray scattering, we reveal a large gap magnetic excitation spectrum. We find that it is caused by an unusual exchange anisotropy generating mechanism, namely, strong ferromagnetic anisotropy arising from antiferromagnetic superexchange, driven by the alternating strong and weak spin-orbit coupling on the 5d Ir and 3d Cu magnetic ions, respectively. From symmetry consideration, this novel mechanism is generally present in systems with edge-sharing Cu(2+)O(4) plaquettes and Ir(4+)O(6) octahedra. Our results point to unusual magnetic behavior to be expected in mixed 3d-5d transition-metal compounds via exchange pathways that are absent in pure 3d or 5d compounds.

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