Competing magnetic phases on a kagomé staircase

Phys Rev Lett. 2004 Dec 10;93(24):247201. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.93.247201. Epub 2004 Dec 7.


We present thermodynamic and neutron data on Ni3V2O8, a spin-1 system on a kagomé staircase. The extreme degeneracy of the kagomé antiferromagnet is lifted to produce two incommensurate phases at finite T--one amplitude modulated, the other helical--plus a commensurate canted antiferromagnet for T-->0. The H-T phase diagram is described by a model of competing first and second neighbor interactions with smaller anisotropic terms. Ni3V2O8 thus provides an elegant example of order from subleading interactions in a highly frustrated system.