Year of Publication

2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Dr. Kwok-Wai Ng

Abstract

The ruthenates are perhaps one of the most diverse group of materials known up to date. These compounds exhibit a wide array of behaviors ranging from the exotic pwave superconductivity in Sr2RuO4, to the itinerant ferromagnetism in SrRuO3, and the Mott-insulating behavior in Ca2RuO4. One of the most intriguing compounds belonging to this group is Ca3Ru2O7 which is known to undergo an antiferromagnetic ordering at 56K and an insulating transition at 48K. Most intriguing, however, is the behavior displayed by this compound in the presence of an external magnetic field. For fields parallel to the a-axis, the compound undergoes a metamagnetic transition into the ferromagnetic region at 6 T. If the external field direction is changed to the b-axis then the result will be different. colossal magnetoresistance occurs and a fall in reistivity of up to three orders of magnitude is recorded at fields of 15T.

Most interesting, however, is the energy gap observed for this material. A number of groups have measured such gap with different methods and found conflicting results. For this reason it was of vital importance to perform measurements on this compound and try to resolve this issue. Tunneling spectroscopy is one of the most powerful techniques which can be used to probe the electronic properties of a material. The method is best suited to measure the density of states of a material and hence the nature of the strong correlations which dictate the properties of the compound. We performed a series of tunneling spectroscopy measurements by means of planar tunnel junctions. These types of junctions were chosen because of their stability over a large temperature range and their stability in the presence of an external field.

The anisotropies which showed up in the resistivity and magnetization measurements manifested also in our data. For tunneling parallel to the a-axis, we observed a gap opening at 48K with a width a peak to peak width of 2Δa ~258±15meV. As the temperature was lowered, the gap size increased reaching a maximum width of 2Δa ~ 845±38meVat 4.2K. Tunneling parallel to the b-axis, the gap has a much smaller size than the a-axis gap. At 48K the gap width is about 2Δb ~ 201±13 meV and reaches a maximum width of 2Δb ~ 366±33 meV at 4.2K. For the c-axis, the situation is different since the gap opens at 56K instead of 48K. The gap width at 56K is about 2Δc ~ 102±6meV and reaches a maximum width of 2Δc ~ 179±14 meV at 4.2K.

In the presence of an external field, we noticed that the overall behavior was always the same in the ab-plane but differed in c-axis direction. In our experiment, an external field was applied along the a-axis and measurements were made at 4.2K. For aaxis tunneling, the gap width decreased to a value of 2Δa ~ 587±27 meV at 4.2 K at 7T. On the other hand, the gap width in the b-axis direction decreased to a value of 2Δb ~ 308±25 meV for the same field. For the c-axis direction, the gap decreased to a value of 2Δc ~ 112±8 meV at 7T. The DOS of the c-axis differs for fields of 6T and above. A third peak emerges inside the gap on the valence side of the DOS. This third peak seems to be a direct consequence of the metamagnetic transition at 6T observed by other groups and may be attributable to a spin-filtering effect.

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