Year of Publication

2008

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Dr. Gang Cao

Abstract

Orbital degrees of freedom play vital role in prompting novel phenomena in ruthenium based Ruddlesden-Popper compounds through coupling of orbits to spin and lattice. Physical properties are then particularly susceptible to small perturbations by external magnetic fields and/or slight structural changes. Current study pertains to the impact when a more-extended 4d Ruthenium ion is replaced by a less-extended 3d Chromium ion.

Perovskite CaRuO3 (n=∞) is characterized by borderline magnetism and non- Fermi liquid behavior – common occurrences in quantum critical compounds. Remarkably, Cr substitution as low as x=0.05 abruptly drives CaRu1−xCrxO3 from a paramagnetic state to an itinerant ferromagnetic state (MS~0.4μB/f.u.), where TC=123K for x=0.22. The Cr-driven magnetism is highly anisotropic suggesting an important role of spin-orbit coupling. Unlike other chemical substitutions in the compound, Cr does not induce any Metal-Insulator transition that is expected to accompany the magnetic transition. The results indicate a coupling of Ru-4d and Cr-3d electrons that is unexpectedly favorable for itinerant ferromagnetism, which often exists delicately in the ruthenates.

Bilayered Ca3Ru2O7 (n=2), an abode of huge anisotropy, exhibits a wide range of physical properties – Colossal Magnetoresistance occurring only when the spin polarized state is avoided, Antiferromagnetic-Metallic (AFM-M) state, Quantum Oscillations (periodic in 1/B and in B) that are highly angular dependent, to mention a few. Experimental results obtained so far provide a coherent picture illustrating that orbital order and its coupling to lattice and spin degrees of freedom drive the exotic electronic and magnetic properties in this Mott-like system. Transport and thermodynamic studies on Ca3(Ru1-xCrx)2O7 (0 ≤ x ≤ 0.20) reveal that AFM-M region is broadened with x that ultimately reaches 70K for x=0.20 (~8K for x=0). In this region, electron transport is enhanced and inhibited when B is applied along crystal’s respective axes, confirming an intrinsic half-metallic behavior. Moreover, the difference in coercivities of Ru and Cr magnetic ions pave way for the first-ever observation of a strong spin-valve effect in bulk material, a quantum phenomenon so far realized only in multilayer thin films or heterostructures. This discovery opens new avenues to understand the underlying physics of spin-valves and fully realize its potential in practical devices.

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