Evidence for a Field-Induced Quantum Spin Liquid in α-RuCl3
AbstractWe report a Cl35 nuclear magnetic resonance study in the honeycomb lattice α-RuCl3, a material that has been suggested to potentially realize a Kitaev quantum spin liquid (QSL) ground state. Our results provide direct evidence that α-RuCl3 exhibits a magnetic-field-induced QSL. For fields larger than ∼10 T, a spin gap opens up while resonance lines remain sharp, evidencing that spins are quantum disordered and locally fluctuating. The spin gap increases linearly with an increasing magnetic field, reaching ∼50 K at 15 T, and is nearly isotropic with respect to the field direction. The unusual rapid increase of the spin gap with increasing field and its isotropic nature are incompatible with conventional magnetic ordering and, in particular, exclude that the ground state is a fully polarized ferromagnet. The presence of such a field-induced gapped QSL phase has indeed been predicted in the Kitaev model.