Infoscience

Thesis

Exotic phases of quantum frustrated magnets: magnetization plateaus, nematic order and supersolid phases

In this work, we study two examples of frustrated magnetic systems whose degrees of freedom are spins (or pseudo-spins) on two-dimensional lattices. The first part presents the results obtained for the quantum compass model on a square lattice. This model is a minimal model for the orbital degrees of freedom of transition metal compounds. We use exact diagonalizations, quantum Monte Carlo simulations as well as a perturbative approach in order to study the ground state degeneracy in the thermodynamic limit and the type of order in the ground state. The second part of this work is devoted to the study of the magnetic properties of SrCu2(BO3)2, which is one of the few quasi two-dimensional quantum magnets whose magnetization curve as a function of the magnetic field shows plateaus. The magnetic degrees of freedom are described by a spin 1/2 Heisenberg model on the Shastry-Sutherland lattice in the presence of an external magnetic field. In order to study the magnetic properties at zero-temperature, we use perturbative continuous unitary transformations to derive an effective Hamiltonian in which the triplets Sz = 1 are particles moving on a background of singlets. This Hamiltonian is characterized by a kinetic energy dominated by correlated hopping, which let a particle hop only if there is another particle nearby. In order to better understand the effect of the correlated hopping, we start by studying a minimal model. By using exact diagonalizations, quantum Monte Carlo and a semi-classical approximation we show that the correlated hopping can stabilize a phase characterized by a condensation of pairs of particles and strongly favor supersolid phases. Next, we determine the zero-temperature phase diagram of the effective model by using a classical approximation. A comparison to previous theoretical works and experimental measurements shows that the Shastry-Sutherland model cannot reproduce the series of magnetization plateaus measured experimentally. This suggest that the residual interactions, which were neglected, could be crucial for SrCu2(BO3)2.

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