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Excitations in the field-induced quantum spin liquid state of alpha-RuCl3


Moessner,  Roderich
Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Max Planck Society;

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Banerjee, A., Lampen-Kelley, P., Knolle, J., Balz, C., Aczel, A. A., Winn, B., et al. (2018). Excitations in the field-induced quantum spin liquid state of alpha-RuCl3. npj Quantum Materials, 3: UNSP 8. doi:10.1038/s41535-018-0079-2.

The celebrated Kitaev quantum spin liquid (QSL) is the paradigmatic example of a topological magnet with emergent excitations in the form of Majorana Fermions and gauge fluxes. Upon breaking of time-reversal symmetry, for example in an external magnetic field, these fractionalized quasiparticles acquire non-Abelian exchange statistics, an important ingredient for topologically protected quantum computing. Consequently, there has been enormous interest in exploring possible material realizations of Kitaev physics and several candidate materials have been put forward, recently including alpha-RuCl3. In the absence of a magnetic field this material orders at a finite temperature and exhibits low-energy spin wave excitations. However, at moderate energies, the spectrum is unconventional and the response shows evidence for fractional excitations. Here we use time-of-flight inelastic neutron scattering to show that the application of a sufficiently large magnetic field in the honeycomb plane suppresses the magnetic order and the spin waves, leaving a gapped continuum spectrum of magnetic excitations. Our comparisons of the scattering to the available calculations for a Kitaev QSL show that they are consistent with the magnetic field induced QSL phase.