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TitleCharacterisation and control of electron-lattice coupling in 4d and 5d quantum materials
AuthorDashwood, Cameron Darling
AbstractThe burgeoning field of quantum materials concerns systems that do not adhere to the traditional theories of condensed matter physics. A key feature of these materials is a strong coupling between structural, electronic and magnetic degrees of freedom, which is especially prominent in 4d and 5d transition- metal oxides. The consequences of this coupling are wide, stabilising a range of emergent phases that are sensitive to perturbation. In this thesis, I develop novel techniques based on neutron and x-ray scattering to characterise and control electron-lattice coupling in 4d and 5d quantum materials. I begin with Ca3Ru2O7, a 4d polar metal that hosts a spin-reorientation transition. Using neutron and resonant x-ray scattering, I reveal a new cy- cloidal magnetic phase, arising from spin-orbit coupling, that rapidly evolves with temperature to mediate the transition. I further show that the cycloid- mediated spin-reorientation can be driven by anisotropic strain, demonstrating the control enabled by coupling to the lattice. I then turn to resonant inelastic x-ray scattering (RIXS), which has re- cently received interest as a new probe of electron-phonon coupling (EPC). Using graphite as a model system, I demonstrate the power of RIXS to probe the momentum-dependent EPC for a range of excited electronic states. Our RIXS data reveal some key deficiencies of current theoretical models of phonon excitations in RIXS, and prompt the development of a new Green’s-function– based model by our collaborators to address these issues. Finally, I present a study of the 5d material Sr2IrO4, a famous jeff = 1/2 spin-orbit Mott insulator. I characterise the phonon spectrum with non- resonant inelastic x-ray scattering, before using RIXS to explore the phonon and magnon excitations. I find a strong EPC similar to that seen in the cuprates, and offer a new interpretation of the magnon dispersion involving coupling to spin-orbit excitons.
TypeThesis; Doctoral
PublisherUCL (University College London)
Source Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).