Order by Quantum Disorder inEr2Ti2O7 Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Here we establish the systematic existence of a U(1) degeneracy of all symmetry-allowed Hamiltonians quadratic in the spins on the pyrochlore lattice, at the mean-field level. By extracting the Hamiltonian of Er(2)Ti(2)O(7) from inelastic neutron scattering measurements, we then show that the U(1)-degenerate states of Er(2)Ti(2)O(7) are its classical ground states, and unambiguously show that quantum fluctuations break the degeneracy in a way which is confirmed by experiment. The degree of symmetry protection of the classical U(1) degeneracy in Er(2)Ti(2)O(7) is unprecedented in other materials. As a consequence, our observation of order by disorder is unusually definitive. We provide further verifiable consequences of this phenomenon, and several additional comparisons between theory and experiment.

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publication date

  • October 19, 2012