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Spin-Wave Lifetimes Throughout the Brillouin Zone

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Science  30 Jun 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5782, pp. 1926-1929
DOI: 10.1126/science.1127756

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Abstract

We used a neutron spin-echo method with microelectron-volt resolution to determine the lifetimes of spin waves in the prototypical antiferromagnet MnF2 over the entire Brillouin zone. A theory based on the interaction of spin waves (magnons) with longitudinal spin fluctuations provides an excellent, parameter-free description of the data, except at the lowest momenta and temperatures. This is surprising, given the prominence of alternative theories based on magnon-magnon interactions in the literature. The results and technique open up a new avenue for the investigation of fundamental concepts in magnetism. The technique also allows measurement of the lifetimes of other elementary excitations, such as lattice vibrations, throughout the Brillouin zone.

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