Quasiparticle Breakdown and Spin Hamiltonian of the Frustrated Quantum Pyrochlore Yb2Ti2O7 in a Magnetic Field
AbstractThe frustrated pyrochlore magnet Yb2Ti2O7 has the remarkable property that it orders magnetically but has no propagating magnons over wide regions of the Brillouin zone. Here we use inelastic neutron scattering to follow how the spectrum evolves in cubic-axis magnetic fields. At high fields we observe, in addition to dispersive magnons, a two-magnon continuum, which grows in intensity upon reducing the field and overlaps with the one-magnon states at intermediate fields leading to strong renormalization of the dispersion relations, and magnon decays. Using heat capacity measurements we find that the low- and high-field regions are smoothly connected with no sharp phase transition, with the spin gap increasing monotonically in field. Through fits to an extensive data set of dispersion relations combined with magnetization measurements, we reevaluate the spin Hamiltonian, finding dominant quantum exchange terms, which we propose are responsible for the anomalously strong fluctuations and quasiparticle breakdown effects observed at low fields.