Univ Melbourne, Sch Phys, Parkville, Vic 3010 - Australia
Total Affiliations: 3
Physical Review Letters;
MAR 2 2018.
Web of Science Citations:
We study the impact of quenched disorder (random exchange couplings or site dilution) on easy-plane pyrochlore antiferromagnets. In the clean system, order by disorder selects a magnetically ordered state from a classically degenerate manifold. In the presence of randomness, however, different orders can be chosen locally depending on details of the disorder configuration. Using a combination of analytical considerations and classical Monte Carlo simulations, we argue that any long-range-ordered magnetic state is destroyed beyond a critical level of randomness where the system breaks into magnetic domains due to random exchange anisotropies, becoming, therefore, a glass of spin clusters, in accordance with the available experimental data. These random anisotropies originate from off-diagonal exchange couplings in the microscopic Hamiltonian, establishing their relevance to other magnets with strong spin-orbit coupling. (AU)