Simulated annealing study of the disordered quantum magnet LiHoxEryY1-x-yF4
Thermal and quantum phase transitions of some rare earth compounds (LiErF4, LiYbF4, LiGdF4 and LiTmF4) are established using the mean field theory. These preliminary calculations allowed evidencing the existence of a novel high-field antiferromagnetic phase in LiErF4, and a still unexplained symmetry breaking in LiGdF4. But the discrepancies with experimental results impel a more sophisticated method. We then present analytical and numerical evidence for the validity of an effective approach to the description of the dipolar coupled antiferromagnet LiErF4. We show that the approach, when implemented in mean field calculations, is able to capture both the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the physics of LiErF4 at small external field and low temperature, yielding results that agree with those obtained in the full Hilbert space using mean field theory. This model nevertheless still fails to describe the LiHoF4 system and needs to be improved. We finally use this toy model as a basis for classical Monte Carlo simulations of LiErF4, which allows the calculation of thermodynamical quantities of the system, as well as the evolution of the order parameters as a function of field H and temperature T. These calculations yield results that are much closer to the experiments than those based on the mean field approximation. Although the theoretical critical temperature is still overestimated by 34%, the critical exponents computed from this effective model correspond to those found experimentally.