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A recent discovery by University of Arkansas physicists could help researchers establish the existence of quantum spin liquids, a new state of matter. They've been a mystery since they were first proposed in the 1970s. If proven to exist, quantum spin liquids would be a step toward much faster, next-generation quantum computing.

 

 

Scientists have focused attention and research on the so-called Kitaev-type of spin , named in honor of the Russian scientist, Alexei Kitaev, who first proposed it. In particular, they have looked extensively at two materials—RuCl3 and Na2IrO—as candidates for this type. Both have small quantum spin numbers.

 

"Traditional candidates are pretty limited to only these two," said Changsong Xu, a researcher in the Department of Physics and first author of a paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

 

In their recent work, U of A physicists have greatly expanded the number of materials that might be candidates as Kitaev quantum spin liquids by looking at materials with higher quantum spin numbers, and by putting materials under physical strain to tune their magnetic states.

 

"Suddenly, we realize there are dozens of candidates we can propose," said Xu.

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Category: Science