Journal article

Theory of inelastic neutron scattering in a field-induced spin-nematic state

We develop a theory of spin excitations in a field-induced spin-nematic state, and use it to show how a spin-nematic order can be indentified using inelastic neutron scattering. We concentrate on two-dimensional frustrated ferromagnets, for which a two-sublattice, bond-centered spin-nematic state is predicted to exist over a wide range of parameters. First, to clarify the nature of spin-excitations, we introduce a soluble spin-1 model, and use this to derive a continuum field theory, applicable to any two-sublattice spin-nematic state. We then parameterize this field theory, using diagrammatic calculations for a realistic microscopic model of a spin-1/2 frustrated ferromagnet, and show how it can be used to make predictions for inelastic neutron scattering. As an example, we show quantitative predictions for inelastic scattering of neutrons from BaCdVO(PO4)(2), a promising candidate to realize a spin-nematic state at an achievable h similar to 4 T. We show that in this material it is realistic to expect a ghostly Goldstone mode, signalling spin-nematic order, to be visible in experiment.


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