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Quantum spin nematic phase in a square-lattice iridate

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Title
Quantum spin nematic phase in a square-lattice iridate
Author(s)
Hoon Kim; Jin-Kwang Kim; Kwon, Junyoung; Jimin Kim; Hyun-Woo J. Kim; Seunghyeok Ha; Kwangrae Kim; Wonjun Lee; Jonghwan Kim; Gil Young Cho; Heo, Hyeokjun; Jang, Joonho; Sahle, C.J.; Longo, A.; Strempfer, J.; Fabbris, G.; Choi, Y.; Haskel, D.; Kim, Jungho; Kim, J.-W.; Bumjoon Kim
Publication Date
2024-01
Journal
Nature, v.625, no.7994, pp.264 - 269
Publisher
Nature Publishing Group
Abstract
Spin nematic is a magnetic analogue of classical liquid crystals, a fourth state of matter exhibiting characteristics of both liquid and solid 1,2. Particularly intriguing is a valence-bond spin nematic 3–5, in which spins are quantum entangled to form a multipolar order without breaking time-reversal symmetry, but its unambiguous experimental realization remains elusive. Here we establish a spin nematic phase in the square-lattice iridate Sr2IrO4, which approximately realizes a pseudospin one-half Heisenberg antiferromagnet in the strong spin–orbit coupling limit 6–9. Upon cooling, the transition into the spin nematic phase at T C ≈ 263 K is marked by a divergence in the static spin quadrupole susceptibility extracted from our Raman spectra and concomitant emergence of a collective mode associated with the spontaneous breaking of rotational symmetries. The quadrupolar order persists in the antiferromagnetic phase below T N ≈ 230 K and becomes directly observable through its interference with the antiferromagnetic order in resonant X-ray diffraction, which allows us to uniquely determine its spatial structure. Further, we find using resonant inelastic X-ray scattering a complete breakdown of coherent magnon excitations at short-wavelength scales, suggesting a many-body quantum entanglement in the antiferromagnetic state 10,11. Taken together, our results reveal a quantum order underlying the Néel antiferromagnet that is widely believed to be intimately connected to the mechanism of high-temperature superconductivity 12,13. © 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.
URI
https://pr.ibs.re.kr/handle/8788114/14777
DOI
10.1038/s41586-023-06829-4
ISSN
0028-0836
Appears in Collections:
Center for Artificial Low Dimensional Electronic Systems(원자제어 저차원 전자계 연구단) > 1. Journal Papers (저널논문)
Center for Van der Waals Quantum Solids(반데르발스 양자 물질 연구단) > 1. Journal Papers (저널논문)
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