Two-dimensional spin liquid behaviour in the triangular-honeycomb antiferromagnet TbInO 3

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Abstract

Spin liquid ground states are predicted to arise within several distinct scenarios in condensed matter physics. The observation of these disordered magnetic states is particularly pervasive among a class of materials known as frustrated magnets, in which the competition between various magnetic exchange interactions prevents the system from adopting long-range magnetic order at low temperatures. Spin liquids continue to be of great interest due to their exotic nature and the possibility that they may support fractionalized excitations, such as Majorana fermions. Systems that allow for such phenomena are not only fascinating from a fundamental perspective but may also be practically significant in future technologies based on quantum computation. Here we show that the underlying antiferromagnetic sublattice in TbInO 3 can undergo a crystal field-induced distortion of its buckled triangular arrangement to one based on a honeycomb. The absence of a conventional magnetic ordering transition at the lowest measurable temperatures indicates that another critical mechanism must govern in the ground-state selection of TbInO 3 . We suggest that anisotropic exchange interactions—mediated through strong spin–orbit coupling on the emergent honeycomb lattice of TbInO 3 —give rise to a highly frustrated spin liquid.

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Clark, L., Sala, G., Maharaj, D. D., Stone, M. B., Knight, K. S., Telling, M. T. F., … Gaulin, B. D. (2019). Two-dimensional spin liquid behaviour in the triangular-honeycomb antiferromagnet TbInO 3. Nature Physics, 15(3), 262–268. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41567-018-0407-2

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