Crystalline electric field effects in PrNi2B2C: Inelastic neutron scattering

TitleCrystalline electric field effects in PrNi2B2C: Inelastic neutron scattering
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsMazumdar C, Rotter M, Frontzek M, Michor H, Doerr M, Kreyssig A, Koza M, Hiess A, Voigt J, Behr G, Gupta LC, Prager M, Loewenhaupt M
Journal TitlePhysical Review B
Date Published10/01
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1098-0121
Accession NumberISI:000260574300063
Keywordsbehavior, excitations, impurities, magnetism, ni, QUATERNARY BOROCARBIDES, RARE-EARTH BOROCARBIDES, superconductivity, suppression, valence

PrNi2B2C as a member of the borocarbide series is characterized by antiferromagnetic order below T-N=4 K and the absence of superconductivity (at least down to 100 mK). There are two effects responsible for the absence of superconductivity in PrNi2B2C. These are the strong conduction electron-Pr moment interaction and a comparatively lower density of states. We studied the crystalline electric field (CEF) excitations and excitons in this compound by inelastic neutron scattering. The CEF level scheme obtained from these data comprises a singlet ground state, a doublet at 1 meV, and further higher levels at 5.2, 24.3 (doublet), 25.1, 29.4, and 31.5 meV. Large dispersion was found for the 1 meV excitation and explained theoretically taking into account magnetic exchange interactions. The calculated crystal-field parameters explain satisfactorily the neutron spectra as well as the heat-capacity and magnetic-susceptibility data. This leads to the conclusion that PrNi2B2C can be described by the standard model of rare-earth magnetism. Thus the heavy-fermion concept, suggested by some groups earlier in literature, is not the cause of the suppression of superconductivity. Excitation spectra of the diluted series Pr1-xYxNi2B2C were also investigated. No drastic changes in the CEF level scheme have been observed in these compounds. Hence the CEF level scheme of the full compound, i.e., PrNi2B2C, is reasonably valid for these samples too. The superconducting-transition temperature T-C similar to 15.5 K for YNi2B2C decreases linearly with decreasing Y concentration x. Samples with x <= 0.65 do not exhibit superconductivity down to 2 K.

Alternate JournalPhys. Rev. B