Keywords: cooperations (135) spintronics (92) quantum materials (27) HZB own research (90)

Science Highlight    21.01.2019

New insights into magnetic quantum effects in solids

The model refers to a cubic crystal structure (pyrochlore lattice). Not only were magnetic interactions between the nearest neighbours included, but also with the next nearest neighbours (see drawing).
Copyright: HZB

Using a new computational method, an international collaboration has succeeded for the first time in systematically investigating magnetic quantum effects in the well-known 3D pyrochlore Heisenberg model. The surprising finding: physical quantum phases are formed only for small spin values.

Atoms and molecules in crystalline solids are arranged in regular three-dimensional lattices. The atoms interact with each other via various forces, finally reaching a state of minimum energy. Near absolute zero, the lattice oscillations freeze, so that interactions between electron spins dominate. A particularly interesting case occurs when the spins cannot all align at the same time to reach a state of lowest energy. This results in a frustrated system in which the spins are almost completely disordered and are therefore referred to as a spin liquid.

Cubic crystal structure

One of the leading models for studying 3D frustrated quantum magnets is the Heisenberg model on a pyrochlore lattice – a simple cubic crystal structure (see illustration). Nevertheless, it has so far been extremely difficult to derive practical predictions, i.e. for specific materials and temperatures, from this theoretical model.

Different spin values

Teams from Germany, Japan, Canada, and India have now jointly conducted systematic investigations of this model with the aid of a new theoretical method and solved several of these difficulties. It is possible with this new method to vary the spin value of the lattice atoms as well as the temperature and other interaction parameters, and to calculate the parameter ranges in which novel magnetic quantum effects occur. The calculations were carried out at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) in Munich.

Quantum effects only for small spins

“We were able to show that quantum physical effects surprisingly only occur over very limited parameter ranges”, explains theoretical physicist Prof. Johannes Reuther from the HZB, co-author of the study. These quantum effects are most pronounced at the smallest possible spin (spin value ½). However, spin systems in the crystal structure investigated by the teams already behave almost completely like classical physical systems at spin values of 1.5 and above.

The work published deepens our understanding of solids and contributes to the systematic advancement of the search for 3D spin fluids in quantum materials.

The study is published Open Access in Physical Review X (2019): Quantum and Classical Phases of the Pyrochlore Heisenberg Model with Competing Interactions. Yasir Iqbal, Tobias Müller, Pratyay Ghosh, Michel J. P. Gingras, Harald O. Jeschke, Stephan Rachel, Johannes Reuther, and Ronny Thomale

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevX.9.011005


Links

arö


           



You might also be interested in
  • <p>The cones represents the magnetization of the nanoparticles. In the absence of electric field (strain-free state) the size and separation between particles leads to a random orientation of their magnetization, known as superparamagnetism</p>SCIENCE HIGHLIGHT      14.02.2019

    Spintronics by “straintronics”: Superferromagnetism with electric-field induced strain

    Data storage in today’s magnetic media is very energy consuming. Combination of novel materials and the coupling between their properties could reduce the energy needed to control magnetic memories thus contributing to a smaller carbon footprint of the IT sector. Now an international team led by HZB has observed at the HZB lightsource BESSY II a new phenomenon in iron nanograins: whereas normally the magnetic moments of the iron grains are disordered with respect each other at room temperature, this can be changed by applying an electric field: This field induces locally a strain on the system leading to the formation of a so-called superferromagnetic ordered state. [...]


  • NEWS      11.02.2019

    HZB to participate in two Clusters of Excellence

    Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) are researching novel systems of materials that can convert or store energy. The HZB will now also be contributing this expertise to the "MATH+" and "UniSysCat" Excellence Clusters being coordinated by Berlin universities. Over the next three years, the Helmholtz Association will fund HZB's participation under the Helmholtz Excellence Network with a total of 1.8 million euros. [...]




Newsletter