Gapless quantum excitations from an icelike splayed ferromagnetic ground state in stoichiometricYb2Ti2O7 Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The ground state of the quantum spin ice candidate magnet Yb2Ti2O7 is known to be sensitive to weak disorder at the 1 percent level which occurs in single crystals grown from the melt. Powders produced by solid state synthesis tend to be stoichiometric and display large and sharp heat capacity anomalies at relatively high temperatures, with Tc about 0.26 K. We have carried out neutron elastic and inelastic measurements on well characterized and equilibrated stoichiometric powder samples of Yb2Ti2O7 which show resolution-limited Bragg peaks to appear at low temperatures, but whose onset correlates with temperatures much higher than Tc. The corresponding magnetic structure is best described as an ice-like splayed ferromagnet. The spin dynamics in Yb2Ti2O7 are shown to be gapless on an energy scale smaller than 0.09 meV at all temperatures, and organized into a continuum of scattering with vestiges of highly overdamped ferromagnetic spin waves present. These excitations differ greatly from conventional spin waves predicted for Yb2Ti2O7 s mean field ordered state, but appear robust to weak disorder as they are largely consistent with those displayed by non stoichiometric crushed single crystals and single crystals, as well as by powder samples of Yb2Ti2O7 s sister quantum magnet Yb2Sn2O7.

publication date

  • February 3, 2016