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This content will become publicly available on April 4, 2017

Title: Proximate Kitaev quantum spin liquid behaviour in a honeycomb magnet

Quantum spin liquids (QSLs) are topological states of matter exhibiting remarkable properties such as the capacity to protect quantum information from decoherence. While their featureless ground states have precluded their straightforward experimental identification, excited states are more revealing and particularly interesting due to the emergence of fundamentally new excitations such as Majorana Fermions. Ideal probes of these excitations are inelastic neutron scattering experiments. We report these here for a ruthenium-based material α-RuCl3, continuing a major search (so far concentrated on iridium materials inimical to neutron probes) for realizations of the celebrated Kitaev honeycomb topological QSL. Our measurements confirm the requisite strong spin-orbit coupling and low-temperature magnetic order matching predictions proximate to the QSL. We find stacking faults, inherent to the highly 2D nature of the material, resolve an outstanding puzzle. Crucially, dynamical response measurements above interlayer energy scales are naturally accounted for in terms of deconfinement physics expected for QSLs. Comparing these with recent dynamical calculations involving gauge flux excitations and Majorana fermions of the pure Kitaev model, we propose the excitation spectrum of α-RuCl3 as prime candidate for realization of fractionalized Kitaev physics.
Authors:
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [3] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [4] ;  [6] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [7]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
  3. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
  4. Univ. of Cambridge (United Kingdom). Cavendish Lab.
  5. Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Dresden (Germany); International Center for Theoretical Sciences, Bangalore (India)
  6. Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Dresden (Germany)
  7. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States). Bresden Center
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1248763
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725l; GBMF4416; EP/M007928/1
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Materials
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Nature Materials; Journal ID: ISSN 1476-1122
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE quantum magnetism; Kitaev; majorana fermions; frustrated semiconducting layered magnet