Abstract

An experimental study of long-range magnetic order formation mechanisms in a layered structure with a honeycomb arrangement of the magnetic atoms Na2Ni2TeO6 is conducted. For the first time, the strong spin correlations are directly observed above the Neel temperature T-N that is manifested in the presence of broad diffuse peaks on neutron diffraction patterns obtained with the XYZ polarization analysis. Due to the possibility of separating the magnetic, nuclear incoherent, and nuclear coherent contributions to the total neutron scattering cross section, it is unequivocally established that the observed diffuse scattering has magnetic nature. The spin-pair correlation function is reconstructed by modeling diffuse neutron scattering on Na2Ni2TeO6 with reverse Monte Carlo method. The obtained results indicate 2D nature of the magnetic correlations, and moreover, the symmetry of short-range magnetic state corresponds to long-range zigzag-type magnetic order in the honeycomb net, which is established earlier based on the theoretical calculations.

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