An all-UCI theory team led by Prof. Chernyshev provided a theoretical overview of the phase diagram of a strongly anisotropic quantum magnet and discovered two interrelated spin-liquid regions. This work provides a framework for studies of a class of quantum materials with strong spin-orbit interactions.
The UCI group, Pavel Maksimov, Zhenyue Zhu, Steven White, and Sasha Chernyshev have studied magnetic materials with strong spin-orbit interactions, which offer rich opportunities for finding unconventional states of matter such as spin liquids and exotic magnetic orders. They studied a model that combines the paradigmatic geometrical frustration of spins on a triangular lattice with strong spin-orbit-induced interactions and has recently emerged as a very promising experimental and theoretical playground for realizing such states.
In their latest PRX paper (https://journals.aps.org/prx/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevX.9.021017), they provided an extensive, if not exhaustive, theoretical overview of the phase diagram of this model, which is relevant to a family of rare-earth-based magnets and other related materials. To better understand this model, they classified its phases and excitations, identified instabilities, and described various quantum and thermal effects. They have also uncovered a particularly fruitful connection that relates different parts of the phase diagram to each other. In a rather spectacular manifestation of that correspondence, they used an unbiased numerical approach to demonstrate, for the first time, the existence of two spin-liquid states that are related to each other via a duality transformation. Their work creates a foundation for the studies of a large group of materials with anisotropic exchanges, sets up a consistent interpretation of current and future experiments, and gives important new insights into fundamental properties of a class of quantum magnets.
Physical Review X