We report a muon spin rotation/relaxation (μSR) study of single-crystalline samples of the α-RuCl3 honeycomb magnet, which is presumed to be a model compound for the Kitaev-Heisenberg interaction. It is inferred from magnetic susceptibility and specific-heat measurements that the present samples exhibit successive magnetic transitions at different critical temperatures TN with decreasing temperature, eventually falling into the TN=7 K antiferromagnetic (7 K) phase that has been observed in only single-crystalline specimens with the least stacking fault. Via μSR measurements conducted under a zero external field, we show that such behavior originates from a phase separation induced by the honeycomb plane stacking fault, yielding multiple domains with different TN's. We also perform μSR measurements under a transverse field in the paramagnetic phase to identify the muon site from the muon-Ru hyperfine parameters. Based on a comparison of the experimental and calculated internal fields at the muon site for the two possible spin structures inferred from neutron diffraction data, we suggest a modulated zigzag spin structure for the 7 K phase, with the amplitude of the ordered magnetic moment being significantly reduced from that expected for the orbital quenched spin-1/2 state.
|Journal||Physical Review B|
|Publication status||Published - 2018 Apr 13|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics