AC susceptibility studies under hydrostatic pressure
McCann, Duncan Michael
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AC susceptibility is an important characterisation technique measuring the time dependent magnetisation and dynamics of a magnetic system. It is capable of yielding information on thermodynamic phase transitions, relaxation processes and losses in a variety of interesting magnetic and superconducting materials. In particular it is a powerful probe of the mixed state of superconductivity providing insight into the ux dynamics at play and determination of a number of physical properties such as the critical temperature Tc, field Hc and characteristic length scales. Application of pressure can tune materials through multiple phases and interesting phenomena. The thesis describes the design of a calibratable susceptometer in a piston cylinder pressure cell, achieving AC susceptibility measurements of the same accuracy as a SQUID magnetometer but under pressure. This is used to make measurements on an electrostatically doped capacitance device, a single chain magnet and a heavy fermion superconductor. These studies are summarised below. Electric double layer (EDL) devices provide a means of continuous tuning through a materials phase diagram by applying an electric field, including inducing superconductivity. Application of pressure in tandem with electrostatic doping could improve the efficiency of these devices and provide a second tuning parameter. An EDL capacitor was constructed and measured with the above susceptometer aiming to shift the Tc of a doped high temperature superconducting cuprate La1:9Sr0:1CuO4. The Tc shifts proved irreproducible already at ambient conditions. Indeed during the course of this research further experimental evidence emerged in the literature indicating EDL devices may very well work due to electrochemical doping rather than electrostatic, possibly accounting for the lack of repeatability. Work therefore focused on mapping the ionic liquid DEME-TFSI's glass-liquid phase diagram over the 1 GPa pressure range, rather than extending the study of the EDLC device to high pressure. Single chain magnets (SCM) are an interesting class of material consisting of a one-dimensional molecular magnet chain manifesting magnetic hysteresis and slow relaxation best characterised by AC susceptibility. The susceptometer was used to study the SCM [Co(NCS)2(pyridine)2]n to investigate the effect of pressure on its characteristic magnetic relaxation time and energy barrier. A secondary signal appears at ~0.44 GPa which is attributed to the development of an additional structural phase that has been independently observed in X-ray crystallographic measurements. The heavy fermion superconductor U6Fe has the highest Tc ~4 K of all the U-based compounds and large critical fields of ~10-12.5 T, depending on direction, which increase on initial application of pressure. It exhibits a coexisting charge density wave (CDW) below 10 K making it a promising candidate for the modulated superconductivity of the theorised Fulde-Ferrel-Larkin-Ovchinnikov (FFLO) state. A feature at 110 K is also evident in Mossbauer, resistivity and specific heat measurements, the origin of which has not yet been clearly identified. Evidence for the FFLO state was sought by mapping the upper critical field Hc2 along with the peak effect through AC susceptibility measurements up to pressures of 1 GPa. The data is accounted for by an evolution of collective pinning and superconducting parameters, with no clear evidence for an FFLO state although an enhancement of the reduced field is observed.