Elastic and magnetoelastic relaxation behaviour of multiferroic (ferromagnetic + ferroelectric + ferroelastic) Pb(Fe0.5Nb0.5)O3 perovskite
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Resonant Ultrasound Spectroscopy has been used to characterize elastic and anelastic anomalies in a polycrystalline sample of multiferroic Pb(Fe0.5Nb0.5)O3 (PFN). Elastic softening begins at ~550 K, which is close to the Burns temperature marking the development of dynamical polar nanoregions. A small increase in acoustic loss at ~425 K coincides with the value of T* reported for polar nanoregions starting to acquire a static or quasi-static component. Softening of the shear modulus by ~30–35% through ~395–320 K, together with a peak in acoustic loss, is due to classical strain/order parameter coupling through the cubic → tetragonal → monoclinic transition sequence of ferroelectric/ferroelastic transitions. A plateau of high acoustic loss below ~320 K is due to the mobility under stress of a ferroelastic microstructure but, instead of the typical effects of freezing of twin wall motion at some low temperature, there is a steady decrease in loss and increase in elastic stiffness below ~85 K. This is attributed to freezing of a succession of strain-coupled defects with a range of relaxation times and is consistent with a report in the literature that PFN develops a tweed microstructure over a wide temperature interval. No overt anomaly was observed near the expected Néel point, ~145 K, consistent with weak/absent spin/lattice coupling but heat capacity measurements showed that the antiferromagnetic transition is actually smeared out or suppressed. Instead, the sample is weakly ferromagnetic up to ~560 K, though it has not been possible to exclude definitively the possibility that this could be due to some magnetic impurity. Overall, evidence from the RUS data is of a permeating influence of static and dynamic strain relaxation effects which are attributed to local strain heterogeneity on a mesoscopic length scale. These, in turn, must have a role in determining the magnetic properties and multiferroic character of PFN.
Carpenter , M A , Schiemer , J A , Lascu , I , Harrison , R J , Kumar , A , Katiyar , R S , Ortega , N , Sanchez , D A , Mejia , C S , Schnelle , W , Echizen , M , Shinohara , H , Heap , A J F , Nagaratnam , R , Dutton , S E & Scott , J F 2015 , ' Elastic and magnetoelastic relaxation behaviour of multiferroic (ferromagnetic + ferroelectric + ferroelastic) Pb(Fe 0.5 Nb 0.5 )O 3 perovskite ' , Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter , vol. 27 , no. 28 , 285901 , pp. 1-18 . https://doi.org/10.1088/0953-8984/27/28/285901
Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter
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