Experimental signatures of a three-dimensional quantum spin liquid in effective spin-1/2 Ce2Zr2O7 pyrochlore

Bin Gao, Tong Chen, David W. Tam, Chien Lung Huang, Kalyan Sasmal, Devashibhai T. Adroja, Feng Ye, Huibo Cao, Gabriele Sala, Matthew B. Stone, Christopher Baines, Joel A.T. Verezhak, Haoyu Hu, Jaiho Chung, Xianghan Xu, Sang Wook Cheong, Manivannan Nallaiyan, Stefano Spagna, M. Brian Maple, Andriy H. NevidomskyyEmilia Morosan, Gang Chen, Pengcheng Dai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A quantum spin liquid is a state of matter where unpaired electrons’ spins, although entangled, do not show magnetic order even at the zero temperature. The realization of a quantum spin liquid is a long-sought goal in condensed-matter physics. Although neutron scattering experiments on the two-dimensional spin-1/2 kagome lattice ZnCu3(OD)6Cl2 and triangular lattice YbMgGaO4 have found evidence for the hallmark of a quantum spin liquid at very low temperature (a continuum of magnetic excitations), the presence of magnetic and non-magnetic site chemical disorder complicates the interpretation of the data. Recently, the three-dimensional Ce3+ pyrochlore lattice Ce2Sn2O7 has been suggested as a clean, effective spin-1/2 quantum spin liquid candidate, but evidence of a spin excitation continuum is still missing. Here, we use thermodynamic, muon spin relaxation and neutron scattering experiments on single crystals of Ce2Zr2O7, a compound isostructural to Ce2Sn2O7, to demonstrate the absence of magnetic ordering and the presence of a spin excitation continuum at 35 mK. With no evidence of oxygen deficiency and magnetic/non-magnetic ion disorder seen by neutron diffraction and diffuse scattering measurements, Ce2Zr2O7 may be a three-dimensional pyrochlore lattice quantum spin liquid material with minimum magnetic and non-magnetic chemical disorder.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Physics
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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    Gao, B., Chen, T., Tam, D. W., Huang, C. L., Sasmal, K., Adroja, D. T., Ye, F., Cao, H., Sala, G., Stone, M. B., Baines, C., Verezhak, J. A. T., Hu, H., Chung, J., Xu, X., Cheong, S. W., Nallaiyan, M., Spagna, S., Maple, M. B., ... Dai, P. (2019). Experimental signatures of a three-dimensional quantum spin liquid in effective spin-1/2 Ce2Zr2O7 pyrochlore. Nature Physics. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41567-019-0577-6