The bicritical phase diagram of two-dimensional antiferromagnets with and without random fields

R. A. Cowley*, A. Aharony, R. J. Birgeneau, R. A. Pelcovits, G. Shirane, T. R. Thurston

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Neutron scattering measurements have been made of the phase diagrams of the nearly two-demensional antiferromagnets Rb2MnF4 and Rb2Mn0.7Mg0.3F4 in a magnetic field applied along the c-axis. In Rb2MnF4 there is at low temperatures a spin-flop phase at fields above 5.5 T which has long range order. The observation of true long range order rather than the algebraic decay of the order characteristic of the two-dimensional XY model is presumably due to subtle anisotropy effects in the plane as well as weak three-dimensional coupling. The phase boundaries of the uniaxial and transverse phases are shown to be consistent with renormalization group predictions for two-dimensional systems. The two lines become exponentially close to each other at low temperatures. The weak three-dimensional coupling moves the bicritical point from T=0 to a non-zero temperature. The situation is more complex in Rb2Mn0.7Mg0.3F4 because of Ising random field effects. At low fields we observe typical random field metastable behavior with a sharp metastability boundary and a gange of length scales which are time independent below that boundary. At higher fields there are substantial uniaxial fluctuations. The transverse phase boundary and the metastability line appear to intercept at T=0 showing that the random field fluctuations do have a large effect on the phase diagram. The theory of the phase diagrams has been extended to include the random field fluctuations and good agreement is obtained with the observed transverse phase boundary. Unfortunately, there is as yet no theory of the metastable uniaxial phase with which to compare our results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-19
Number of pages15
Journal Zeitschrift fur Physik B-Condensed Matter
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1993


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