Quantum spin liquids have been an active area of research since their first proposal by P. W. Anderson in 1973. While many quantum spin liquids have been theorized, only a few materials have been found to be candidate spin liquids. We are working toward finding more material systems in which this phase of matter would be possible.
In a quantum spin liquids, the frustrated interactions between spins causes them quantum mechanically fluctuate between degenerate ground states. While interactions would normally cause the spins to order, these fluctuations allow the spins to remain “liquid”, even close to absolute zero.
Quantum spin liquids are an exciting phase of matter because nearly all theoretical models predict exotic excitations — particles with fractional quantum numbers or with statistics that are neither fermionic nor bosonic. A particular type of excitation possible in these systems may even be used for topological quantum computing.
We recently discovered a new structure that is closely connected to the Kitaev spin liquid, except our structure potentially expands this physics to three-dimensional. See our publications!
We also work on two-dimensional Kitaev candidate systems.