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We present the results of an inelastic neutron scattering experiment with polarization analysis performed on a single crystal of UO(2). A magnetic inelastic response is observed above T(n) in the energy region between 3 and 10MeV, at least up to 6.5T(n). This result provides evidence of the fact that in the time scale of our experiment the uranium triplet ground state is split into three singlets because of a dynamical Jahn-Teller distortion of the oxygen cage, reducing the point symmetry at the uranium site. The position of the peaks and their dispersion are compatible with monoclinic distortions along the three directions of the star. This suggests a picture in which as T(n) is approached, a correlation builds up between the phases of the corresponding vibrations until, eventually, a static 3-k distortion is obtained below T(n).

Additional information

Bibliographic Reference: Paper presented: 43rd Conference on Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, Miami (US), 9-12th November (1998)
Availability: Available from Publications and Public Relations Unit, Ispra (IT)
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