We show that interlayer spins play a dual role in the Cairo pentagonal magnet Bi4Fe5O13F, on one hand mediating the three-dimensional magnetic order, and on the other driving spin-reorientation transitions both within and between the planes. The corresponding sequence of magnetic orders unraveled by neutron diffraction and Mössbauer spectroscopy features two orthogonal magnetic structures described by opposite local vector chiralities, and an intermediate, partly disordered phase with nearly collinear spins. A similar collinear phase has been predicted theoretically to be stabilized by quantum fluctuations, but Bi4Fe5O13F is very far from the relevant parameter regime. While the observed in-plane reorientation cannot be explained by any standard frustration mechanism, our ab initio band-structure calculations reveal strong single-ion anisotropy of the interlayer Fe3+ spins that turns out to be instrumental in controlling the local vector chirality and the associated interlayer order.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We are grateful to J.-M. Perez-Mato and Dmitry Khalyavin for valuable discussions on the magnetic structures and symmetries. D.F. and A.A. are grateful to the Russian Science Foundation (Grant No. 14-13-00680) for support. A.T. was supported by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research through the Sofja Kovalevskaya Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. This work is based on experiments performed at the Swiss spallation neutron source SINQ, Paul Scherrer Institut, Villigen, Switzerland.
© 2017 American Physical Society.