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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2024
  2. Fast and sensitive phase transition detection is one of the most important requirements for new material synthesis and characterization. For solid-state samples, microwave absorption techniques can be employed for detecting phase transitions because it simultaneously monitors changes in electronic and magnetic properties. However, microwave absorption techniques require expensive high-frequency microwave equipment and bulky hollow cavities. Due to size limitations in conventional instruments, it is challenging to implement these cavities inside a laboratory cryostat. In this work, we designed and built a susceptometer that consists of a small helical cavity embedded into a custom insert of a commercial cryostat. This cavity resonator operated at sub-GHz frequencies is extremely sensitive to changes in material parameters, such as electrical conductivity, magnetization, and electric and magnetic susceptibilities. To demonstrate its operation, we detected superconducting phase transition in Nb and YBa2Cu3O7−δ, metal–insulator transitions in V2O3, ferromagnetic transition in Gd, and magnetic field induced transformation in meta magnetic NiCoMnIn single crystals. This high sensitivity apparatus allows the detection of trace amounts of materials (10−9-cc) undergoing an electromagnetic transition in a very broad temperature (2–400 K) and magnetic field (up to 90 kOe) ranges. 
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