Infoscience

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.

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