Correlated Decay of Triplet Excitations in the Shastry-Sutherland Compound SrCu2(BO3)(2)
The temperature dependence of the gapped triplet excitations (triplons) in the 2D Shastry-Sutherland quantum magnet SrCu2(BO3)(2) is studied by means of inelastic neutron scattering. The excitation amplitude rapidly decreases as a function of temperature, while the integrated spectral weight can be explained by an isolated dimer model up to 10 K. Analyzing this anomalous spectral line shape in terms of damped harmonic oscillators shows that the observed damping is due to a two-component process: one component remains sharp and resolution limited while the second broadens. We explain the underlying mechanism through a simple yet quantitatively accurate model of correlated decay of triplons: an excited triplon is long lived if no thermally populated triplons are nearby but decays quickly if there are. The phenomenon is a direct consequence of frustration induced triplon localization in the Shastry-Sutherland lattice.