All UCI team publishes on a discovery of two spin liquids and more!

Thursday, May 2, 2019

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 (, 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