Rafael Trócoli, Carlos Frontera, Judith Oró-Solé, Clemens Ritter, Pere Alemany, Enric Canadell, M. Rosa Palacín, Josep Fontcuberta, and Amparo Fuertes
Chem. Mater. 2022, 34, 13(2022); DOI:doi.org/10.1021/acs.chemmater.2c01240
Magnetic frustration results from competing magnetic interactions and leads to unusual ground states, ranging from non-collinear magnetic orders to spin liquids (SLs), opening the path to new physics and emerging properties. We report the engineered magnetic interaction design and synthesis of the new ternary nitride MnTa2N4 with a normal spinel structure, where the magnetic cations Mn2+ occupy exclusively the tetrahedral sites forming a diamond lattice.
Although the magnetic interactions are strongly antiferromagnetic (θCW ≈ −140 K), a long-range magnetic order is not established, but a smooth magnetic anomaly is observed at T* ≈ 5.1 K, fingerprinting a large magnetic frustration. A short-range helicoidal magnetic order emerges at low temperatures. The ordered moment is ≈70% of the expected magnetic moment of Mn2+ ions and a large part (≈28%) of the spin entropy remains at 400 mK, signaling the coexistence of a helicoidal order with spin-glass-like or SL textures. First-principles calculations unveil an unexpected large direct Mn–Mn exchange interaction that balances the superexchange and accounts for the magnetic frustration. These findings open new avenues toward the design of quantum materials.