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Journal Article

Tuning the structural and antiferromagnetic phase transitions in UCr2Si2: Hydrostatic pressure and chemical substitution

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Lai, Y., Wei, K., Chappell, G., Diaz, J., Siegrist, T., Moll, P. J. W., et al. (2022). Tuning the structural and antiferromagnetic phase transitions in UCr2Si2: Hydrostatic pressure and chemical substitution. Physical Review Materials, 4(7): 075003. doi:10.1103/PhysRevMaterials.4.075003.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000B-77BB-D
Structural phase transitions in f-electron materials have attracted sustained attention both for practical and basic science reasons, including the fact that they offer an environment to directly investigate relationships between structure and the f-state. Here we present results for UCr2Si2, where structural (tetragonal → monoclinic) and antiferromagnetic phase transitions are seen at TS=205 K and TN=25 K, respectively. We also provide evidence for an additional second-order phase transition at TX=280 K. We show that TX, TS, and TN respond in distinct ways to the application of hydrostatic pressure and Cr→Ru chemical substitution. In particular, hydrostatic compression increases the structural ordering temperature, eventually causes it to merge with TX, and destroys the antiferromagnetism. In contrast, chemical substitution in the series UCr2-xRuxSi2 suppresses both TS and TN, causing them to approach zero temperature near x≈0.16 and 0.08, respectively. The distinct T−P and T−x phase diagrams are related to the evolution of the rigid Cr-Si and Si-Si substructures, where applied pressure semiuniformly compresses the unit cell, and Cr→Ru substitution results in uniaxial lattice compression along the tetragonal c-axis and an expansion in the ab-plane. These results provide insights into an interesting class of strongly correlated quantum materials in which degrees of freedom associated with f-electron magnetism, strong electronic correlations, and structural instabilities are readily controlled.