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Inelastic neutron scattering study of crystal field excitations of Nd3+ in NdFeAsO


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As a major interaction in rare-earth compounds, the crystalline electric field (CEF) interaction reflects directly the electrical and magnetic potential on the rare-earth site, which is created by neighboring ions. As the CEF interaction in the NdFeAsO parent phase has to date not been investigated, we have probed the crystal field excitations of Nd3+ in NdFeAsO by means of inelastic neutron scattering. By performing a CEF analysis with a single-ion model Hamiltonian, the crystal field levels are established and the related parameters are extracted for both the paramagnetic and antiferromagnetic phases.

The ground state of the Nd3+ ion was found to be a magnetic doublet in the high-temperature paramagnetic phase, while the molecular field generated by the long-range order of the Fe moments lifts the degeneracy further, resulting in a magnetic singlet ground state in the low-temperature antiferromagnetic phase. Both fourth- and sixth-rank crystal field interactions are quite different due to the variation of rare-earth conduction electron interactions in the two different phases.

Y. Xiao et al., “Inelastic neutron scattering study of crystal field excitations of Nd3+ in NdFeAsO”, Phys. Rev. B 88, 214419 (2013).

Contact: Yixi Su

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