Study of multiferroic materials by means of muon spin rotation and other complementary techniques
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Magnetic and ferroelectric materials have both had a very important impact in our society, not only because of the fascinating science behind the two phenomena, but also as a result of their use in many technological applications. The coupling and coexistence of these two order parameters within the same material opens the door to exiting new functional devices. Materials where magnetism and ferroelectricity coexist are known as multiferroic materials. In this thesis, muon spectroscopy and other complementary experimental techniques, including neutron scattering and resonant ultrasound spectroscopy, are used to investigate two di↵erent multiferroics. Muon and total neutron scattering studies have been performed on BiFeO3, one of the most studied multiferroic materials. Muon measurements reveal an anomaly in the temperature region of 200 - 220 K with a sudden and abrupt change in the muon’s precession frequency that corresponds to a process of muon di↵usion throughout the entire sample. The pair distribution function, calculated from total neutron scattering experiments on the compound, suggest that a change in the local structure of the material involving the bismuth-oxygen bond, in the same temperature region as the muon di↵usion sets in, is a strong indicative that there is a link between two in terms of the muon di↵usion being triggered by these local changes. Also, an extensive analysis and characterisation of the magnetic and ferroelectric properties of Ba4Dy0.87Nb10O30, an entirely new tetragonal tungsten bronze magnetoelectric material, is given. Neutron scattering and dielectric measurements are used to show that this material becomes ferroelectric below 470 K. We use muon spectroscopy and magnetic susceptibility measurements to investigate the magnetic properties of the material. Muon measurements under an applied electric field indicate that there is a strong coupling between the magnetism and ferroelectricity in the material. Resonant ultrasound spectroscopy is use to investigate whether the source of this coupling could be related to strain e↵ects. Magnetic neutron scattering measurements show that there is no long range ordering in the material.