X-band electron magnetic resonance and dc/ac magnetic measurements have been employed to study the effects of chemical disorder on magnetic ordering in bulk and nanometer-sized single crystals and bulk ceramics of optimally-doped La0.7Ca0.3MnO3 manganite. The magnetic ground state of bulk samples appeared to be ferromagnetic with the lower Curie temperature and higher magnetic homogeneity in the vicinity of the ferromagnetic-paramagnetic phase transition in the crystal, as compared with those characteristics in the ceramics. The influence of technological driven macroscopic fluctuations of Ca-dopant level in crystal and mesoscopic disorder within grain boundary regions in ceramics was proposed to be responsible for these effects. Surface spin disorder together with pronounced inter-particle interactions within agglomerated nano-sample results in well defined core/shell spin configuration in La0.7Ca0.3MnO3 nano-crystals. The analysis of the electron paramagnetic resonance data enlightened the reasons for the observed difference in the magnetic order. Lattice effects dominate the first-order nature of magnetic phase transition in bulk samples. However, mesoscale chemical disorder seems to be responsible for the appearance of small ferromagnetic polarons in the paramagnetic state of bulk ceramics. The experimental results and their analysis indicate that a chemical/magnetic disorder has a strong impact on the magnetic state even in the case of mostly stable optimally hole-doped manganites.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors thank Dr. D. Golosov for stimulating discussions of the results. This research was supported by the Israeli Science Foundation administered by the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities (Grant No. 754/09).