Journal article

Kitaev exchange and field-induced quantum spin-liquid states in honeycomb alpha-RuCl3

Large anisotropic exchange in 5d and 4d oxides and halides open the door to new types of magnetic ground states and excitations, inconceivable a decade ago. A prominent case is the Kitaev spin liquid, host of remarkable properties such as protection of quantum information and the emergence of Majorana fermions. Here we discuss the promise for spin-liquid behavior in the 4d(5) honeycomb halide alpha-RuCl3. From advanced electronic-structure calculations, we find that the Kitaev interaction is ferromagnetic, as in 5d(5) iridium honeycomb oxides, and indeed defines the largest superexchange energy scale. A ferromagnetic Kitaev coupling is also supported by a detailed analysis of the field-dependent magnetization. Using exact diagonalization and density-matrix renormalization group techniques for extended Kitaev-Heisenberg spin Hamiltonians, we find indications for a transition from zigzag order to a gapped spin liquid when applying magnetic field. Our results offer a unified picture on recent magnetic and spectroscopic measurements on this material and open new perspectives on the prospect of realizing quantum spin liquids in d(5) halides and oxides in general.


Related material