The elastic properties of a spinel vanadate MnV2O4 that has an orbital degree of freedom in the triply degenerate t2g orbital at V3+(d2) sites are investigated by ultrasonic pulse-echo measurement. Considerable softening of the shear elastic constant (C 11-C12)/2 is observed as the temperature approaches the first-order transition from the high-temperature orbital-disordered cubic phase to the low-temperature orbital-ordered tetragonal phase. The softening is attributed to fluctuations between dyz and dzx. Moreover, the elastic anomaly is found to be sensitive to the external magnetic field, revealing a coupling between spin and orbital fluctuations. The elastic anomaly is well reproduced theoretically based on Landau theory and elucidates a characteristic precursor phenomenon in MnV2O4.
|Journal||Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics|
|Publication status||Published - 2013 Feb 8|