Magnetic structure of magnetoelectric multiferroic HoFeWO6

C. Dhital, Kennesaw State University
R. L. Dally, NIST Center for Neutron Research
D. Pham, Kennesaw State University
T. Keen, Kennesaw State University


The polar magnetic oxide, HoFeWO6, is synthesized, and its crystal structure, magnetic structure, and thermodynamic properties are investigated. HoFeWO6 forms the polar crystal structure (space group Pna21 (#33)) due to the cation ordering of W6+ and Fe3+. An antiferromagnetic transition at TN = 17 K is accompanied by a significant change in magnetic entropy with a value of ≈ 5 J kg−1 K−1 in a 70 kOe applied field. Temperature dependent neutron diffraction and magnetization data indicate that the Fe sublattice orders in a strongly non-collinear and non-coplanar arrangement below TN. The Fe ordering initially leads to induced ordering of the Ho spins such that the Ho spins also show behavior of long-range ordering that is evident from the neutron diffraction measurements. Below T ≈ 4 K, the Ho spins order independently and pull the Fe spins toward the direction of Ho spins. A comparison with the magnetic structures and corresponding ferroelectric properties of other members of RMWO6 (R = Y, Sm-Tm, M = Cr, Fe, V) family indicate that the spontaneous polarization is due to the magnetic structure specific to the Fe sublattice through magnetoelectric coupling whereas the polarization is independent of the Ho sublattice.