Laboratoire de Physique Théorique

de la Matière Condensée

Quantum Spin Liquids in Dipolar-Octupolar Pyrochlores

Owen Benton (MPIPKS Dresden)

Over many years, there has been a concerted research effort to identify systems realizing Quantum Spin Liquid (QSL) ground states. Realization of QSL states is of great interest due to their association with large-scale quantum entanglement, fractional excitations and emergent gauge fields. A particularly interesting subset of QSLs is those that realise emergent electromagnetism, with gapless photons and gapped, fractional charges as excitations.

In this regard the “dipolar-octupolar” pyrochlore oxides R2M2O7 (R=Ce, Sm, Nd) represent an important opportunity. The effective S=1/2 exchange Hamiltonian which governs their low energy physics has an alluringly simple “XYZ” form and is known to be conducive to forming a U(1) QSL ground state, at least in certain limits. Meanwhile, recent experiments on these materials strongly suggest QSL physics.

Motivated by this, we present here a complete analysis of the ground state phase diagram of dipolar-octupolar pyrochlores. Combining perturbation theory, variational arguments and exact diagonalization we discover multiple U(1) QSL phases which together occupy a large fraction of the parameter space. By comparing numerical calculations to published thermodynamic data we can also locate the materials Ce2Zr2O7 and Ce2Sn2O7 on the phase diagram, finding strong support for a QSL ground state.