Bound states of fractionalized excitations in a modulated Kitaev spin liquid
AbstractFractionalization is a hallmark of spin-liquid behavior; it typically leads to response functions consisting of continua instead of sharp modes. However, microscopic processes can enable the formation of short-distance bound states of fractionalized excitations, despite asymptotic deconfinement. Here we study such bound-state formation for the Z2 spin liquid realized in Kitaev's honeycomb compass model, supplemented by a kekulé distortion of the lattice. Bound states between flux pairs and Majorana fermions form in the Majorana band gaps. We calculate the dynamic spin susceptibility and show that bound states lead to sharp modes in the magnetic response of the spin liquid, with the momentum dependence of the corresponding spectral weight encoding the internal symmetry of the bound state. As a byproduct, we also show that isolated fluxes may produce Majorana bound states at exactly zero energy. Generalizations and implications of the results are discussed.