We present a combined experimental and theoretical study of the mineral atacamite Cu2Cl(OH)3. Density-functional theory yields a Hamiltonian describing anisotropic sawtooth chains with weak 3D connections. Experimentally, we fully characterize the antiferromagnetically ordered state. Magnetic order shows a complex evolution with the magnetic field, while, starting at 31.5 T, we observe a plateaulike magnetization at about Msat/2. Based on complementary theoretical approaches, we show that the latter is unrelated to the known magnetization plateau of a sawtooth chain. Instead, we provide evidence that the magnetization process in atacamite is a field-driven canting of a 3D network of weakly coupled sawtooth chains that form giant moments.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)