Starting from the orthorhombic magnetically ordered phase, we investigate the effects of uniaxial tensile and compressive stresses along a, b, and the diagonal a+b directions in BaFe2As2 and CaFe 2As2 in the framework of ab initio density functional theory (DFT) and a phenomonological Ginzburg-Landau model. While - contrary to the application of hydrostatic or c-axis uniaxial pressure - both systems remain in the orthorhombic phase with a pressure-dependent nonzero magnetic moment, we observe a sign-changing jump in the orthorhombicity at a critical uniaxial pressure, accompanied by a reversal of the orbital occupancy and a switch between the ferromagnetic and antiferromagnetic directions. Our Ginzburg-Landau analysis reveals that this behavior is a direct consequence of the competition between the intrinsic magneto-elastic coupling of the system and the applied compressive stress, which helps the system to overcome the energy barrier between the two possible magneto-elastic ground states. Our results shed light on the mechanisms involved in the detwinning process of an orthorhombic iron-pnictide crystal and on the changes in the magnetic properties of a system under uniaxial stress.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics|
|State||Published - May 9 2013|