Field-induced quantum criticality in the Kitaev system α-RuCl3

Field-induced quantum criticality in the Kitaev system α-RuCl3 α-RuCl3 has attracted enormous attention since it has been proposed as a prime candidate to study fractionalized magnetic excitations akin to Kitaev's honeycomb-lattice spin liquid. We have performed a detailed specific-heat investigation at temperatures down to 0.4K in applied magnetic fields up to 9T for fields parallel to the ab plane. We find a suppression of the zero-field antiferromagnetic order, together with an increase of the low-temperature specific heat, with increasing field up to μ0Hc≈6.9 T. Above Hc, the magnetic contribution to the low-temperature specific heat is strongly suppressed, implying the opening of a spin-excitation gap. Our data point toward a field-induced quantum critical point at Hc; this is supported by universal scaling behavior near Hc. Remarkably, the data also reveal the existence of a small characteristic energy scale well below 1 meV, above which the excitation spectrum changes qualitatively. We relate the data to theoretical calculations based on a J1-K1-Γ1-J3 honeycomb model. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Physical Review B American Physical Society (APS)
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Field-induced quantum criticality in the Kitaev system α-RuCl3

Abstract

α-RuCl3 has attracted enormous attention since it has been proposed as a prime candidate to study fractionalized magnetic excitations akin to Kitaev's honeycomb-lattice spin liquid. We have performed a detailed specific-heat investigation at temperatures down to 0.4K in applied magnetic fields up to 9T for fields parallel to the ab plane. We find a suppression of the zero-field antiferromagnetic order, together with an increase of the low-temperature specific heat, with increasing field up to μ0Hc≈6.9 T. Above Hc, the magnetic contribution to the low-temperature specific heat is strongly suppressed, implying the opening of a spin-excitation gap. Our data point toward a field-induced quantum critical point at Hc; this is supported by universal scaling behavior near Hc. Remarkably, the data also reveal the existence of a small characteristic energy scale well below 1 meV, above which the excitation spectrum changes qualitatively. We relate the data to theoretical calculations based on a J1-K1-Γ1-J3 honeycomb model.
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Publisher
The American Physical Society
Copyright
Copyright © ©2017 American Physical Society
ISSN
1098-0121
eISSN
1550-235X
D.O.I.
10.1103/PhysRevB.96.041405
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

α-RuCl3 has attracted enormous attention since it has been proposed as a prime candidate to study fractionalized magnetic excitations akin to Kitaev's honeycomb-lattice spin liquid. We have performed a detailed specific-heat investigation at temperatures down to 0.4K in applied magnetic fields up to 9T for fields parallel to the ab plane. We find a suppression of the zero-field antiferromagnetic order, together with an increase of the low-temperature specific heat, with increasing field up to μ0Hc≈6.9 T. Above Hc, the magnetic contribution to the low-temperature specific heat is strongly suppressed, implying the opening of a spin-excitation gap. Our data point toward a field-induced quantum critical point at Hc; this is supported by universal scaling behavior near Hc. Remarkably, the data also reveal the existence of a small characteristic energy scale well below 1 meV, above which the excitation spectrum changes qualitatively. We relate the data to theoretical calculations based on a J1-K1-Γ1-J3 honeycomb model.

Journal

Physical Review BAmerican Physical Society (APS)

Published: Jul 13, 2017

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