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School of Physics and Astronomy

Defects and monopole dynamics in spin ice

7 October 2014

Time: 2:00pm
Venue: GO Jones Room 610

CCMMP Seminars
Prof Jon Goff
Prof Martin Dove

The idea of magnetic monopoles in spin ice has enjoyed much success at intermediate temperatures, but at low temperatures a description in terms of monopole dynamics alone is insufficient. Recently, numerical simulations were used to argue that magnetic impurities account for this discrepancy by introducing a magnetic equivalent of residual resistance in the system. Here we propose that oxygen deficiency is the dominant contribution to magnetic defects in as-grown samples, and we determine the defect structure and magnetism in Y2Ti2O7 using diffuse neutron scattering and magnetization measurements. These defects are eliminated by oxygen annealing. The introduction of oxygen vacancies causes Ti4+ to transform to magnetic Ti3+ with quenched orbital magnetism, but the concentration is anomalously low. In the spin-ice material Dy2Ti2O7 we find that the same oxygen-vacancy defects affect the moments on neighbouring rare-earth sites, and that these magnetic distortions dramatically slow down the long-time monopole dynamics at sub-Kelvin temperatures.