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Properties of Metallic Helimagnets
Kirkpatrick, Theodore R
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This dissertation investigates various aspects of helimagnets. Helimagnets are magnets with spins aligned in helical order at low temperatures. It exists in materials of crystal structure lacking the spatial inversion symmetry. The helical order is due to the Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya (DM) mechanism. Examples of helimagnets include MnSi, FeGe and Fe<sub>1-<italic>x</italic></sub>Co<sub><itaic>x</italic></sub>Si. A field theory appropriate for such magnets is used to derive the phase diagram in a mean-field approximation. The helical phase, the conical phase, the columnar phase and the non-Fermi-liquid (NFL) region in the paramagnetic phase are discussed. It is shown that the orientation of the helical vector along an external magnetic field within the conical phase occurs via two distinct phase transitions. The columnar phase, believed to be a Skyrmion lattice, is found to exist as Abrikosov Skyrmions near the helimagnetic phase boundary, and the core-to-core distance is estimated. The Goldstone modes that result from the long-range order in the various phases are determined, and their consequences for electronic properties, in particular, the specific heat, single-particle relaxation rate and the electrical conductivity, are derived. In addition, Skyrmion gases and lattices in helimagnets are studied, and the size of a Skyrmion in various phases is estimated. For isolated Skyrmions, the long distance tail is related to the magnetization correlation functions and exhibits power-law decay if the phase spontaneously breaks a continuous symmetry, but decays exponentially otherwise. The size of a Skyrmion is found to depend on a number of length scales. These length scales are related to the strength of DM interaction, the temperature, and the external magnetic field.