V. Moshnyaga, A. Belenchuk, S. Hühn, C. Kalkert, M. Jungbauer, O. I. Lebedev, S. Merten, K.-Y. Choi, P. Lemmens, B. Damaschke, K. Samwer
Intrinsic antiferromagnetic coupling underlies colossal magnetoresistance effect: Role of correlated polarons
Phys. Rev. B 89 (2014), 024420
A commonly believed picture of colossal magneto-resistance (CMR) effect is related to a first-order phase transition and electronic phase separationwith coexisting ferromagnetic metallic and antiferromagnetic insulating phases. However, the underlying mechanism, i.e., the characteristic energy scale of the interacting phases and their spatial extent, is still under debate. Here we present experimental evidence on the existence of an effective antiferromagnetic coupling between the ferromagnetic nanodomains in epitaxial thin films of a classical CMR material (La1−yPry )0.67Ca0.33MnO3 with Pr doping, y = 0.375 and 0.4. This coupling yields to peculiar low-field CMR behavior with magnetic hysteresis and slow resistance relaxation, both induced by the magnetization reversal. The coercive field obeys a square-root temperature dependence for T TC and increases anomalously close to the phase transition. We modeled the magnetic structure within the phase-separation scenario as an assembly of single-domain ferromagnetic nanoparticles, antiferromagnetically coupled (pinned) by correlated Jahn-Teller polarons. The concentration of polarons increases drastically close to phase transition as indicated by the third harmonic of the electrical conductivity as well as Raman spectroscopy.