Observation of plaquette fluctuations in the spin-1/2 honeycomb lattice

Wessler, Christian; Roessli, Bertrand; Krämer, Karl W.; Delley, Bernard; Waldmann, Oliver; Keller, Lukas; Cheptiakov, Denis; Braun, Hans B.; Kenzelmann, Michel (2020). Observation of plaquette fluctuations in the spin-1/2 honeycomb lattice. npj quantum materials, 5(1) Springer Nature 10.1038/s41535-020-00287-1

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Quantum spin liquids are materials that feature quantum entangled spin correlations and avoid magnetic long-range order at T = 0 K. Particularly interesting are two-dimensional honeycomb spin lattices where a plethora of exotic quantum spin liquids have been predicted. Here, we experimentally study an effective S = 1/2 Heisenberg honeycomb lattice with competing nearest and next-nearest-neighbour interactions. We demonstrate that YbBr3 avoids order down to at least T = 100 mK and features a dynamic spin–spin correlation function with broad continuum scattering typical of quantum spin liquids near a quantum critical point. The continuum in the spin spectrum is consistent with plaquette type fluctuations predicted by theory. Our study is the experimental demonstration that strong quantum fluctuations can exist on the honeycomb lattice even in the absence of Kitaev-type interactions, and opens a new perspective on quantum spin liquids.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences (DCBP)

UniBE Contributor:

Krämer, Karl

Subjects:

500 Science > 530 Physics
500 Science > 540 Chemistry

ISSN:

2397-4648

Publisher:

Springer Nature

Funders:

[42] Schweizerischer Nationalfonds

Language:

English

Submitter:

Karl Krämer

Date Deposited:

20 Nov 2020 10:29

Last Modified:

22 Nov 2020 02:50

Publisher DOI:

10.1038/s41535-020-00287-1

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.148232

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/148232

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