Locking of iridium magnetic moments to the correlated rotation of oxygen octahedra in Sr2IrO4 revealed by x-ray resonant scattering

S. Boseggia, H. C. Walker, J. Vale, R. Springell, Z. Feng, R. S. Perry, M. Moretti Sala, H. M. Rønnow, S. P. Collins, Desmond Francis McMorrow

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Abstract

Sr2IrO4 is a prototype of the class of Mott insulators in the strong spin–orbit interaction (SOI) limit described by a Jeff = 1/2 ground state. In Sr2IrO4, the strong SOI is predicted to manifest itself in the locking of the canting of the magnetic moments to the correlated rotation by 11.8(1)° of the oxygen octahedra that characterizes its distorted layered perovskite structure. Using x-ray resonant scattering at the Ir L3 edge we have measured accurately the intensities of Bragg peaks arising from different components of the magnetic structure. From a careful comparison of integrated intensities of peaks due to basal-plane antiferromagnetism, with those due to b-axis ferromagnetism, we deduce a canting of the magnetic moments of 12.2(8)°. We thus confirm that in Sr2IrO4 the magnetic moments rigidly follow the rotation of the oxygen octahedra, indicating that, even in the presence of significant non-cubic structural distortions, it is a close realization of the Jeff = 1/2 state.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Physics: Condensed Matter
Volume25
Issue number42
Pages (from-to)422202
ISSN0953-8984
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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