Date of Award
Master of Science (MSc)
Physics and Astronomy
Graeme M. Luke
This thesis is the result of several experiments designed to probe the low temperature physics underlying the 1D-Ising-like behaviour of chains of spins in the structure of Cobalt Niobate, CoNb2O6. A collection of prior work has been done by several groups prior to this, focusing on mapping the phase diagram above 0.5K. Interest in this material was renewed recently based upon theoretical work and experimental confirmation of the unique structure of the spins in the system. The bulk of this work was done at temperatures below the previously investigated range to probe the unique properties of this system.
The material was grown at McMaster University using the optical floating zone technique from oxide powders. The crystal was examined and oriented using single crystal and Laue diffraction and was cut for use in further experiments. Squid magnetometry was used to confirm the material properties and phase transition temperatures, and was compared to literature values.
Heat capacity measurements were performed locally down to 2K, and by collaborators at Waterloo in the range from 330mK to 1K. The heat capacity measurement confirmed the 2.9K transition and explored the relaxation time of the material. Cobalt niobate was found to have an exceptionally long relaxation time at low temperatures indicating strong spin-spin interactions. A sharp transition with zero applied field was found to become a broad, smooth feature at 2.9K when a small field was applied.
We performed muSR measurements in zero, longitudinal and transverse field. The muSR results confirmed the long relaxation time found by the heat capacity measurements, which may reflect the coupling of the spin system to the lattice. Additionally, the material was never seen to statically order in zero or longitudinal field down to 700mK and up to 1T. The material was found to behave dynamically throughout all the field ranges.
Munsie, Timothy J.S., "Studies of the Low Temperature Behaviour of CoNb2O6" (2012). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 7578.
McMaster University Library