Mesoscopic Magnetic States in Metallic Alloys with Strong Electronic Correlations: A Percolative Scenario for CeNi 1 − x Cu x

University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
Physical Review Letters (Impact Factor: 7.51). 04/2007; 98(16):166406. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.98.166406
Source: PubMed


We present evidence for the existence of magnetic clusters of approximately 20 A in the strongly correlated alloy system CeNi 1-x Cux (0.7<or=x<or=0.2) based on small angle neutron scattering experiments as well as the occurrence of staircaselike hysteresis cycles at very low temperature (100 mK). An unusual feature is the observation of long-range ferromagnetic order below the cluster-glass transition without any indication of a sharp transition at a Curie temperature. These observations strongly support a phenomenological model where a percolative process connects both magnetic states. The model can account for all the puzzling data previously obtained in this system, providing a new perspective with regard to the magnetic ground state of other alloyed compounds with small magnetic moments or weak ferromagnetism with intrinsic disorder effects.

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