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Title: Piezomagnetism and magnetoelastic memory in uranium dioxide

Uranium dioxide (UO 2) is a prime nuclear fuel and perhaps the most thoroughly studied actinide material to date. Its thermal and magnetic properties remain, however, a puzzle resulting from strong couplings between magnetism and lattice vibrations. The magnetic state of this cubic material is characterized by a non- collinear antiferromagnetic structure and multidomain Jahn-Teller distortions that could be behind novel thermal properties. Here we show that single crystals of UO 2, subjected to magnetic fields up to 95 T in the magnetic state, exhibit the abrupt appearance of positive linear magnetostriction leading to a trigonal distortion. Upon reversal of the field the linear term also reverses sign, a hallmark of piezomagnetism. The switching phenomenon occurs at ± 18 T and persists during subsequent field reversals, demonstrating robust magneto-elastic memory. This is the first example of piezomagnetism in an actinide spin system and the magneto-elastic memory loop here is nearly an order of magnitude wider in field than those previously observed, making UO 2 the hardest piezomagnet known. The possibility of an inverse phase with reduced magnetocrystalline anisotropy is considered to explain these effects.
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ; ORCiD logo [3] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [4]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. Aix-Marseille Univ., and CNRS/IN2P3, Marseille (France)
  3. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); Maria Curie-Sklodowska Univ., Lublin (Poland). Inst. of Physics
  4. Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
INL/JOU-16-38685; LA-UR-16-21871
Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Grant/Contract Number:
AC07-05ID14517; DMR-212 1157490; AC52-06NA25396
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 8; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States); Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22); National Science Foundation (NSF)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
75 CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS, SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AND SUPERFLUIDITY; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; piezomagnetism; uranium dioxide
OSTI Identifier:
1369434
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1409763