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Theory of X-ray circular dichroism and application to materials under pressure

Abstract : The main purpose of this thesis was to compute X-ray magnetic circular dichroism spectra at the K-edge in order to provide a tool to interpret the, so far very puzzling, experimental spectra. Computation of circular dichroism requires precise calculations of X-ray absorption spectra (XAS) for circularly polarized light. We have found that there is an incompatibility of the semi-classical time-dependent perturbation theory commonly used to calculate light absorption and scattering cross-sections with both gauge invariance and semi-relativistic descriptions of the electron dynamics. The problems are solved by applying a Foldy-Wouthuysen transformation to the fully relativistic cross-sections given by quantum electrodynamics. In the process, a new light-matter interaction term emerges, that we named the "spin-position" interaction. An efficient first-principles approach was developed to compute the absorption cross-section in order to obtain X-ray magnetic circular dichroism (XMCD) and X-ray natural circular dichroism (XNCD). The numerical method relies on density-functional theory with plane waves and pseudopotentials. We find that the term coupling the electric dipole operator with the spin-position operator contributes significantly to the XMCD at the K-edge of ferromagnetic iron, cobalt, and nickel. We obtain a sum rule relating this term to the spin magnetic moment of the p states. We also applied the method to calculations of K-edge XMCD in FeH and CrO2. In both cases, the combination of experiment and theory leads to mutual enrichment.
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  • HAL Id : tel-01803912, version 1

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Nadejda Bouldi. Theory of X-ray circular dichroism and application to materials under pressure. Chemical Physics [physics.chem-ph]. Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris VI, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017PA066491⟩. ⟨tel-01803912⟩

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