Grams, Christoph (2016). (Quantum-) critical dynamics of magnetoelectric materials. PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.

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In this thesis the critical dynamics of several magnetoelectric compounds at their phase transition were examined. Mostly measurements of the dielectric properties in the frequency range of below 1 Hz up to 5 GHz were employed to evaluate the critical exponents for both magnetic field and temperature-dependent measurements. Most of the materials that are part of this work show anomalous behavior, especially at very low temperatures where quantum fluctuations are of the order of or even dominate those induced thermally. This anomalous behavior manifests in different forms. In Dy2Ti2O7 we demonstrate the existence of electric dipoles on magnetic monopoles. Here the dynamics at the critical endpoint located at 0.36K and in a magnetic field of 1T parallel to the [111] direction are of special interest. At this critical endpoint the expected critical slowing down of the dynamics could not only not be observed but instead the opposite, critical speeding-up by several orders of magnitude, could be demonstrated. Furthermore, we show that the phase diagram of Dy2Ti2O7 in this field direction can be reproduced solely from the dynamical properties, for example the resonance frequency of the observed relaxation that is connected to the monopole movement. Away from this point of the phase diagram the dynamics are slowing-down with reduction of temperature as one would expect. Additional measurements on Y2Ti2O7, a structurally identical but non-magnetic material, show only slowing down with reduction of temperature and no additional features. A possible explanation for the observed critical speeding-up is a coherent movement of magnetic monopoles close to the critical field that increases the resonance frequency by reducing the damping of the process. LiCuVO4 on the other hand behaves normally at its phase transition as long as the temperature is higher than 0.4 K. In this temperature regime the dynamics show critical slowing-down analogous to classical ferroelectric materials. This analogy extends also towards higher frequencies where the permittivity displays a ‘dispersion’ minimum that is temperature-dependent but of the order of 2 GHz. Below 0.4K the observed behavior changes drastically. Here we found no longer relaxational behavior but instead an excitation with very low energy. This low energy excitation was predicted by theory and is caused by nearly gapless soliton excitations within the 1D Cu2+ chains of LiCuVO4. Finally, in TbMnO3 the dynamics of the phase transition into the multiferroic phase was observed at roughly 27 K, a much higher temperature compared to the other materials. Here the expected critical slowing-down was observed, even though in low-frequency measurements this transition into the ferroelectric phase is overshadowed by the so-called c-axis relaxation. Therefore, only frequencies above 1MHz could be used to determine the critical exponents for both temperatureand magnetic-field-dependent measurements. This was done for both the peak frequency as well as the relaxation strength. In TbMnO3 an electromagnetic soft-mode with small optical weight causes the observed fluctuations, similar to the case of multiferroic MnWO4.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Grams, Christophgrams@ph2.uni-koeln.deUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-67439
Date: 2016
Language: English
Faculty: Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences > Department of Physics > Institute of Physics II
Subjects: Physics
Uncontrolled Keywords:
critical dynamics; multiferroics; dielectric spectroscopyEnglish
Date of oral exam: 25 November 2015
NameAcademic Title
Hemberger, JoachimProf. Dr.
Braden, MarkusProf. Dr.
Refereed: Yes


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