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TITLE Competing Ground States in Actinide Compounds
TYPE Distinguished Lectures
DATE/TIME 2013-01-23 (4:30pm)
PLACE APCTP Seminar Room (Hogil Kim Memorial Bldg.-512)
AFFILIATION University College London, UK

The interplay of competing magnetic and multipolar interactions in actinide compounds leads to a fascinating variety of ground states exhibiting different types of ordering at low temperatures.  Whilst macroscopic property measurements, such as heat capacity studies, can indicate the existence of phase transitions, microscopic investigations, using techniques such as neutron and x-ray scattering are essential for elucidating the details of the ordered structures.

After a general introduction to these materials, and to the importance of neutron scattering methods, we will show how a combination of macroscopic and microscopic experimental methods have been employed to investigate the series of intermetallic compounds UPd3, NpPd3 and PuPd3 that display quite different ground states.

In UPd3, the 5f electrons are, unusually, well localised and the system exhibits a sequence of four antiferroquadrupolar ordered phases at low temperatures. We will demonstrate how X-ray resonant scattering studies have allowed us to distinguish between the symmetry allowed structures of the various phases. These ordered phases result from a delicate balance of competing interactions and are extremely sensitive to substitutional alloying on both the U and Pd sites, as revealed in recent measurements.  The magnetic and quadrupolar exchange interactions may be most directly deduced from inelastic neutron scattering studies of the excitation spectra of UPd3. We shall discuss recent progress in distinguishing these interactions by an analysis of a study of the excitations in single crystal UPd3 using the MERLIN spectrometer at the UK neutron source ISIS.

NpPd3 shows two ordered phases at low temperatures, but their order parameters have not yet been determined conclusively.  In contrast, PuPd3 is antiferromagnetic below 24K.  Recent measurements carried out at the Institute for Transuranium Elements in Karlsruhe, Germany, show that it has a surprisingly high Sommerfeld coefficient at low temperatures which is enhanced by the substitution of Lu.           

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