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A historical introduction to the symmetries of magnetic structures. Part 1. Early quantum theory, neutron powder diffraction and the coloured space groups -

  • Andrew S. Wills (a1)

This paper introduces the historical development of the symmetries for describing magnetic structures culminating in the derivation of the black and white and coloured space groups. Beginning from the Langevin model of the Curie law, it aims to show the challenges that magnetic ordering presented and how different symmetry frameworks were developed to meet them. As well as explaining core ideas, later papers will show how the different schemes are connected. With these goals in mind, the maths related is kept to the minimum required for clarity. Those wishing to learn more details are invited to engage with the references. As well as looking back and reviewing the development of magnetic symmetry over time, particular attention is spent on explaining where the concept of time-reversal has been applied. That time-reversal has different meaning in classical and quantum mechanical situations, has created confusions which continue to propagate.

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Powder Diffraction
  • ISSN: 0885-7156
  • EISSN: 1945-7413
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