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Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Professor Tom Lancaster

Foronda, F.R., Lang, F., Möller, J.S., Lancaster, T., Boothroyd, A.T., Pratt, F.L., Giblin, S.R., Prabhakaran, D. & Blundell, S.J. (2015). Anisotropic local modification of crystal field levels in Pr-based pyrochlores a muon-induced effect modeled using density functional theory. Physical Review Letters 114(1): 017602.

Author(s) from Durham


Although muon spin relaxation is commonly used to probe local magnetic order, spin freezing, and spin dynamics, we identify an experimental situation in which the measured response is dominated by an effect resulting from the muon-induced local distortion rather than the intrinsic behavior of the host compound. We demonstrate this effect in some quantum spin ice candidate materials Pr2B2O7 (B=Sn, Zr, Hf), where we detect a static distribution of magnetic moments that appears to grow on cooling. Using density functional theory we show how this effect can be explained via a hyperfine enhancement arising from a splitting of the non-Kramers doublet ground states on Pr ions close to the muon, which itself causes a highly anisotropic distortion field. We provide a quantitative relationship between this effect and the measured temperature dependence of the muon relaxation and discuss the relevance of these observations to muon experiments in other magnetic materials.