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This content will become publicly available on December 11, 2018

Title: Quantum criticality among entangled spin chains

Here, an important challenge in magnetism is the unambiguous identification of a quantum spin liquid, of potential importance for quantum computing. In such a material, the magnetic spins should be fluctuating in the quantum regime, instead of frozen in a classical long-range-ordered state. While this requirement dictates systems wherein classical order is suppressed by a frustrating lattice, an ideal system would allow tuning of quantum fluctuations by an external parameter. Conventional three-dimensional antiferromagnets can be tuned through a quantum critical point—a region of highly fluctuating spins—by an applied magnetic field. Such systems suffer from a weak specific-heat peak at the quantum critical point, with little entropy available for quantum fluctuations. Here we study a different type of antiferromagnet, comprised of weakly coupled antiferromagnetic spin-1/2 chains as realized in the molecular salt K 2PbCu(NO 2) 6. Across the temperature–magnetic field boundary between three-dimensional order and the paramagnetic phase, the specific heat exhibits a large peak whose magnitude approaches a value suggestive of the spinon Sommerfeld coefficient of isolated quantum spin chains. These results demonstrate an alternative approach for producing quantum matter via a magnetic-field-induced shift of entropy from one-dimensional short-range order to a three-dimensional quantum critical point.
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  1. Univ. of California, Santa Cruz, CA (United States)
  2. FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, Tallahassee, FL (United States); National High Magnetic Field Lab., Tallahassee, FL (United States)
  3. Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta, GA (United States)
  4. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  5. Univ. of California, Santa Barbara, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Physics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 14; Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 1745-2473
Nature Publishing Group (NPG)
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; Magnetic properties and materials; Phase transitions and critical phenomena; Quantum fluids and solids
OSTI Identifier: