Magnetoelectric effects in single crystals of the cubic ferrimagnetic helimagnet Cu2OSeO3

We present magnetodielectric measurements in single crystals of the cubic spin-1/2 compound Cu 2OSeO 3. A magnetic-field-induced electric polarization (P) and a finite magnetocapacitance (MC) is observed at the onset of the magnetically ordered state (T c=59K). Both P and MC are explored in considerable detail as a function of temperature (T), applied field H a, and relative field orientations with respect to the crystallographic axes. The magnetodielectric data show a number of anomalies which signal magnetic phase transitions, and allow us to map out the phase diagram of the system in the H a-T plane. Below the 3-up-1-down collinear ferrimagnetic phase, we find two additional magnetic phases. We demonstrate that these are related to the field-driven evolution of a long-period helical phase, which is stabilized by the chiral Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya term DM•(×M) that is present in this noncentrosymmetric compound. We also present a phenomenological Landau-Ginzburg theory for the magnetic-field-induced electric polarization (ME H) effect, which is in excellent agreement with experimental data, and shows three main features: (i) the polarization P has a uniform as well as a long-wavelength spatial component that is given by the pitch of the magnetic helices, (ii) the uniform component of P points along the vector (HyHz,HzHx,HxHy), and (iii) its strength is proportional to η2-η2/2, where η is the longitudinal and η is the transverse (and spiraling) component of the magnetic ordering. Hence, the field dependence of P provides a clear signature of the evolution of a conical helix under a magnetic field. A similar phenomenological theory is discussed for the MC. © 2012 American Physical Society.

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