Magnetoelastic couplings in the distorted diamond-chain compound azurite
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We present results of ultrasonic measurements on a single crystal of the distorted diamond-chain compound azurite Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2. Pronounced elastic anomalies are observed in the temperature dependence of the longitudinal elastic mode c22 which can be assigned to the relevant magnetic interactions in the system and their couplings to the lattice degrees of freedom. From a semiquantitative analysis of the magnetic contribution to c22 the magnetoelastic coupling G=âJ2/âÎμb can be estimated, where J2 is the intradimer coupling constant and Îμb the strain along the intrachain b axis. We find an exceptionally large coupling constant of |G|â 3650 K highlighting an extraordinarily strong sensitivity of J2 against changes of the b-axis lattice parameter. These results are complemented by measurements of the hydrostatic pressure dependence of J2 by means of thermal expansion and magnetic susceptibility measurements performed both at ambient and finite hydrostatic pressure. We propose that a structural peculiarity of this compound, in which Cu2O6 dimer units are incorporated in an unusually stretched manner, is responsible for the anomalously large magnetoelastic coupling. © 2014 American Physical Society.