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Title: Piezomagnetic switching and complex phase equilibria in uranium dioxide

Actinide materials exhibit strong spin–lattice coupling and electronic correlations, and are predicted to host new emerging ground states. One example is piezomagnetism and magneto-elastic memory effect in the antiferromagnetic Mott-Hubbard insulator uranium dioxide, though its microscopic nature is under debate. Here, we report X-ray diffraction studies of oriented uranium dioxide crystals under strong pulsed magnetic fields. In the antiferromagnetic state a [888] Bragg diffraction peak follows the bulk magnetostriction that expands under magnetic fields. Upon reversal of the field the expansion turns to contraction, before the [888] peak follows the switching effect and piezomagnetic ‘butterfly’ behaviour, characteristic of two structures connected by time reversal symmetry. An unexpected splitting of the [888] peak is observed, indicating the simultaneous presence of time-reversed domains of the 3-k structure and a complex magnetic-field-induced evolution of the microstructure. These findings open the door for a microscopic understanding of the piezomagnetism and magnetic coupling across strong magneto-elastic interactions.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
Nature Publishing Group
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Communications Materials
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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