Orbital ordering and unfrustrated (pi, 0) magnetism from degenerate double exchange in the iron pnictides

Weicheng Lv, Frank Kruger, Philip Phillips

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181 Citations (Scopus)


The magnetic excitations of the iron pnictides are explained within a degenerate double-exchange model. The local-moment spins are coupled by superexchanges J(1) and J(2) between nearest and next-nearest neighbors, respectively, and interact with the itinerant electrons of the degenerate d(xz) and d(yz) orbitals via a ferromagnetic Hund exchange. The latter stabilizes (pi ,0) stripe antiferromagnetism due to emergent ferro-orbital order and the resulting kinetic-energy gain by hopping preferably along the ferromagnetic spin direction. Taking the quantum nature of the spins into account, we calculate the magnetic excitation spectra in the presence of both, superexchange and double exchange. A dramatic increase in the spin-wave energies at the competing Neel ordering wave vector is found, in agreement with recent neutron-scattering data. The spectra are fitted to a spin-only model with a strong spatial anisotropy and additional longer-ranged couplings along the ferromagnetic chains. Over a realistic parameter range, the effective couplings along the chains are negative corresponding to unfrustrated stripe antiferromagnetism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)045125
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical Review. B, Condensed matter and materials physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2010




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