skip to main content


Title: Hierarchy of Exchange Interactions in the Triangular-Lattice Spin Liquid YbMgGaO 4

The spin-1/2 triangular lattice antiferromagnet YbMgGaO 4 has attracted attention recently as a quantum spin-liquid candidate with the possible presence of off-diagonal anisotropic exchange interactions induced by spin-orbit coupling. Whether a quantum spin liquid is stabilized or not depends on the interplay of various exchange interactions with chemical disorder that is inherent to the layered structure of the compound. We combine time-domain terahertz spectroscopy and inelastic neutron scattering measurements in the field-polarized state of YbMgGaO 4 to obtain better insight of its exchange interactions. Terahertz spectroscopy in this fashion functions as a high-field electron spin resonance and probes the spin-wave excitations at the Brillouin zone center, ideally complementing neutron scattering. A global spin-wave fit to all our spectroscopic data at fields over 4 T, informed by the analysis of the terahertz spectroscopy linewidths, yields constraints on the disorder-averaged g factors and exchange interactions. Our results paint YbMgGaO 4 as an easy-plane XXZ antiferromagnet with the combined and necessary presence of subleading next-nearest neighbor and weak anisotropic off-diagonal nearest-neighbor interactions. Moreover, the obtained g factors are substantially different from previous reports. Furthermore, this work establishes the hierarchy of exchange interactions in YbMgGaO 4 from high-field data alone and thus strongly constrainsmore » possible mechanisms responsible for the observed spin-liquid phenomenology.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [1] ; ORCiD logo [5] ;  [3] ;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Johns Hopkins Univ., Baltimore, MD (United States)
  2. Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta, GA (United States)
  3. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
  4. Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta, GA (United States); Univ. of Cambridge, Cambridge (United Kingdom)
  5. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725; FG02-08ER46544
Published Article
Journal Name:
Physical Review. X
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 8; Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 2160-3308
American Physical Society
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1462902