Infoscience

Conference paper

Experimental investigation of the low-temperature features of a random Heisenberg spin chain

Low-dimensional spin systems, consisting of arrays of spins arranged in chains or ladders, have been investigated intensively in recent years using both exactly solvable theoretical models as well as a variety of experimental techniques. In case of random variations of the exchange couplings the renormalization group theory predicts the existence of a random-singlet (RS) state, corresponding to spins coupled at all possible distances and energy scales. The scarce availability of suitable random systems, however, has so far prevented the experimental identification of this peculiar magnetic ground state. In a combined effort using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), dc magnetometry and numerical simulations, we now find compelling evidence for the formation of a random-singlet state in this class of materials. Randomness seems to generate a broad distribution of local magnetic fields, in turn reflected in stretched exponential NMR relaxations. This distribution exhibits a progressive broadening with decreasing temperature, caused by the growing inequivalence of magnetic sites, as expected from the RS theory. Our findings suggest that NMR is the tool of choice for probing the low-energy physics also in other disordered magnets, where extended-scale excitations are dominant.

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