The magnetic phase diagram of magnetoelectric LiCoPO4 is established using neutron diffraction and magnetometry in fields up to 25.9 T applied along the crystallographic b axis. For fields greater than 11.9 T, the magnetic unit cell triples in size with propagation vector Q = (0, 1/3,0). A magnetized elliptic cycloid is formed with spins in the (b, c) plane and the major axis oriented along b. Such a structure allows for the magnetoelectric effect with an electric polarization along c induced by magnetic fields applied along b. Intriguingly, additional ordering vectors Q ≈ to (0, 1/4,0) and Q ≈ to (0, 1/2,0) appear for increasing fields in the hysteresis region below the transition field. Traces of this behavior are also observed in the magnetization. A simple model based on a mean-field approach is proposed to explain these additional ordering vectors. In the field interval 20.5-21.0 T, the propagation vector Q = (0, 1/3,0) remains but the spins orient differently compared to the cycloid phase. Above 21.0 T and up until saturation, a commensurate magnetic structure exists with a ferromagnetic component along b and an antiferromagnetic component along c.
©2017 American Physical Society
Fogh, E., Toft-Petersen, R.
, Ressouche, E., Niedermayer, C., Holm, S. L., Bartkowiak, M., ... Christensen, N. B.
(2017). Magnetic order, hysteresis, and phase coexistence in magnetoelectric LiCoPO4
. Physical Review B
(10), . https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.96.104420