Recently, two consecutive phase transitions were observed, upon cooling, in an antiferromagnetic spinel GeNi2O4 at T N1=12.1 K and TN2=11.4 K, respectively (Crawford M. K. et al., Phys. Rev. B, 68 (2003) 220408(R)). Using unpolarized and polarized elastic neutron scattering we show that the two transitions are due to the existence of frustrated minority spins in this compound. Upon cooling, at TN1 the spins on the 〈111〉 kagome planes order ferromagnetically in the plane and antiferromagnetically between the planes (phase I), leaving the spins on the 〈111〉 triangular planes that separate the kagome planes frustrated and disordered. At the lower TN2, the triangular spins also order in the 〈111〉 plane (phase II). We also present a scenario involving exchange interactions that qualitatively explains the origin of the two purely magnetic phase transitions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)