Distinct Itinerant Spin-Density Waves and Local-Moment Antiferromagnetism in an Intermetallic ErPd2Si2 Single Crystal

Sci Rep. 2015 Jan 22;5:7968. doi: 10.1038/srep07968.


Identifying the nature of magnetism, itinerant or localized, remains a major challenge in condensed-matter science. Purely localized moments appear only in magnetic insulators, whereas itinerant moments more or less co-exist with localized moments in metallic compounds such as the doped-cuprate or the iron-based superconductors, hampering a thorough understanding of the role of magnetism in phenomena like superconductivity or magnetoresistance. Here we distinguish two antiferromagnetic modulations with respective propagation wave vectors at Q± = (H ± 0.557(1), 0, L ± 0.150(1)) and QC = (H ± 0.564(1), 0, L), where (H, L) are allowed Miller indices, in an ErPd2Si2 single crystal by neutron scattering and establish their respective temperature- and field-dependent phase diagrams. The modulations can co-exist but also compete depending on temperature or applied field strength. They couple differently with the underlying lattice albeit with associated moments in a common direction. The Q± modulation may be attributed to localized 4f moments while the QC correlates well with itinerant conduction bands, supported by our transport studies. Hence, ErPd2Si2 represents a new model compound that displays clearly-separated itinerant and localized moments, substantiating early theoretical predictions and providing a unique platform allowing the study of itinerant electron behavior in a localized antiferromagnetic matrix.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't