Cobalt pyrochlore fluoride NaCaCo2F7 is a disordered frustrated magnet that is composed of Co2+ ions with an effective spin-12 magnetic moment and that exhibits spin freezing below Tf∼2.4 K. We perform ultrasound velocity measurements on a single crystal of the cubic NaCaCo2F7. The temperature dependence of the bulk modulus (the breathing elastic mode) exhibits Curie-type softening upon cooling below ∼20 K down to Tf, which is suppressed by the magnetic field. This Curie-type softening should be a precursor to the enhancement of the strength of exchange disorder via the spin-lattice coupling, which causes the spin freezing. In contrast to the magnetic-field-suppressed Curie-type softening in the bulk modulus, the trigonal shear modulus exhibits softening with a characteristic minimum upon cooling, which is enhanced by the magnetic field at temperatures below ∼20 K. This magnetic-field-enhanced elastic anomaly in the trigonal shear modulus suggests a coupling of the lattice to the dynamical spin-cluster state. For NaCaCo2F7, the observed elastic anomalies reveal an occurrence of magnetic-field-induced crossover from an isostructural lattice instability toward the spin freezing to a trigonal lattice instability arising from the emergent dynamical spin-cluster state.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics