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Magnetism is one of the fundamental properties of matter, and also of high technological and commercial importance. This project offers the opportunity to explore the magnetic behaviour of a range of interesting systems. The tools for studying magnetic materials include neutron diffraction, magnetic bulk measurements, and x-ray diffraction. Magnetic property measurements and Mössbauer spectroscopy can be done in collaboration with the School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences at the ADFA campus of the University of New South Wales.

The prime interest for us is the interplay between the dimensionality of the lattice (spatial dimensionality) and of the spins involved (Ising, XY or Heisenberg, the spin dimensionality). As we mix spin types, or dilute the magnetic lattice, the magnetic ordering changes in a very complex way. Interacting spins act as excellent model systems for many types of theoretical calculations, while being interesting in themselves.

Research Projects

MnPS3 and Derivatives: The dimensionality of a physical system is a critical parameter in determining its properties. The magnetic order in the family of layered magnetic materials based on MnPS3 has been shown to change in a very fundamental way with composition, including a spinglass phase in Fe0.5Mn0.5PS3.

By manipulating the composition, applied magnetic field and temperature, the range of magnetic phases possible in the system can be explored.

Project Details:
Main tools are magnetometry, neutron diffraction, and sample manufacture. The Mn site can have other transition metals substituted onto it, while Se and (possibly) Te can be substituted in for S. Further, intercalation can be used to push the 2-d magnetic layers apart, acting a further means of tuning the properties. This is most interesting in that the family of materials can act as hosts for optically active molecules, offering the possibility of optically switchable functional materials.

Related publications include:

D.J.Goossens, D. James, J. Dong, R.E.Whitfield, L.Norén and R.L.Withers, 'Local order in layered NiPS3 and Ni0.7Mg0.3PS3' Journal of Physics: Condens. Matt., 23 (2011) 65401. DOI:10.1088/0953-8984/23/6/065401

D.J.Goossens, 'Dipolar anisotropy in quasi-2D honeycomb antiferromagnet MnPS3', European Physical Journal B, 78 (2010) 305-309. DOI: 10.1140/epjb/e2010-10569-x

D.J.Goossens, A.R.Wildes, C.Ritter and T.J.Hicks, 'Order and the nature of the spin flop phase transition in MnPS3', Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, 12 (2000) 1845--1854.

D.J.Goossens, A.J.Studer, S.J.Kennedy and T.J.Hicks, 'The impact of magnetic dilution on magnetic order in MnPS3', Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, 12 (2000) 4233 4242.

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