Ultrasmall Moment Incommensurate Spin Density Wave Order Masking a Ferromagnetic Quantum Critical Point in NbFe2

P. G. Niklowitz, M. Hirschberger, M. Lucas, P. Cermak, A. Schneidewind, E. Faulhaber, J. M. Mignot, W. J. Duncan, A. Neubauer, C. Pfleiderer, F. M. Grosche

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Abstract

In the metallic magnet Nb1-yFe2+y, the low temperature threshold of ferromagnetism can be investigated by varying the Fe excess y within a narrow homogeneity range. We use elastic neutron scattering to track the evolution of magnetic order from Fe-rich, ferromagnetic Nb0.981Fe2.019 to approximately stoichiometric NbFe2, in which we can, for the first time, characterize a long-wavelength spin density wave state burying a ferromagnetic quantum critical point. The associated ordering wave vector qSDW=(0,0,lSDW) is found to depend significantly on y and T, staying finite but decreasing as the ferromagnetic state is approached. The phase diagram follows a two-order-parameter Landau theory, for which all of the coefficients can now be determined. Our findings suggest that the emergence of spin density wave order cannot be attributed to band structure effects alone. They indicate a common microscopic origin of both types of magnetic order and provide strong constraints on related theoretical scenarios based on, e.g., quantum order by disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Article number247203
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume123
Issue number24
DOIs
StatePublished - 11 Dec 2019

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