Faculty Sponsor's Department(s):
Lacunar spinel compounds have interesting characteristics such as metal-insulator transitions and skyrmion lattices, showing potential for applications in spintronics and improved memory devices. These compounds have the spinel form AM4Q8 (A = Ga, Ge; M= Nb, V, Mo; Q = S, Se) with a deficient A atom, which changes the symmetry from Fd3m to F-43m, resulting in their interesting characteristics. Although these materials look promising for future applications, the fundamental connection between atomic, electronic, and magnetic structure must first be understood before these materials can be realized as devices. The goal of this research was to optimize the growth of high quality single crystals and to fully characterize the structural and magnetic properties of these compounds by exploring their phase spaces after doping and/or straining. These materials were prepared by solid state techniques and single crystals were grown by chemical vapor transport. Optimization of the chemical vapor transport method was done by analyzing which temperature gradient and transport agent would produce higher quality crystals. By using Platinum Chloride as the transport agent in combination with a proper temperature gradient we were able to grow single crystals. Future work will focus on measuring the magnetic properties of the grown crystals and manipulating their phase spaces by doping and/or straining them.