Comparative study of low-temperature x-ray diffraction experiments onR2Ir2O7(R=Nd, Eu, and Pr)
Physical Review B
The cubic symmetry of pyrochlore iridium oxides R2Ir2O7 (R = Nd, Eu, and Pr) has been investigated by high resolution X-ray diffraction experiments down to 4 K,in order to clarify the relationship between the metal-insulator transition (MIT) and the small structural phase transition suggested by Raman scattering experiments in these compounds. We have found that a small negative thermal expansion of the order of 10^-3 angstroms appears only in Nd2Ir2O7 below the MIT, T_MIT = 34 K, resulting in
... he magnetovolume effect of the long-range order of Ir moments. However, any breaking of the cubic symmetry of three iridates has not been observed as appearance of superlattice reflections nor splittings of cubic reflections below T_MIT. These results imply that lowering of the cubic symmetry plays a minor role for the change in the electronic state of these compounds, while a formation of the special arrangement of Ir moments plays a major role for the MIT.