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Research Highlight | Materials Science Division

Spin stripe order in a square planar trilayer nickelate

In a study published in Physical Review Letters, researchers reported single crystal neutron diffraction measurements that establish that the ground state is indeed magnetic.

Scientific Achievement

Single crystal neutron scattering definitively reveals antiferromagnetic spin stripes that are commensurate with and strongly coupled to charge stripes at a semiconductor-insulator transition in La4Ni3O8.

Significance and Impact

Understanding the coupling between charge and spin is key in the exploration of potential high-TC physics in copper-free oxides.

Research Details

  • Both polarized and unpolarized single crystal neutron diffraction, were performed on La4Ni3O8 with triple-axis instruments at HFIR and NIST Center for Neutron Research.
  • The semiconductor to insulator transition is accompanied by simultaneous charge and antiferromagnetic spin stripe order that occurs within square planar, Ni-O trilayers.
  • Both experiment and density functional theory calculations indicate that spins point along the c‑axis, in contrast to cuprates.
  • The spin and charge stripe order parameters are strongly coupled; uniquely, neither order parameter is secondary to the other.

DOI10.1103/PhysRevLett.122.247201

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