Research ArticlePHYSICS

Weak-field induced nonmagnetic state in a Co-based honeycomb

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Science Advances  24 Jan 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 4, eaay6953
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay6953

Abstract

Layered honeycomb magnets are of interest as potential realizations of the Kitaev quantum spin liquid (KQSL), a quantum state with long-range spin entanglement and an exactly solvable Hamiltonian. Conventional magnetically ordered states are present for all currently known candidate materials, however, because non-Kitaev terms in the Hamiltonians obscure the Kitaev physics. Current experimental studies of the KQSL are focused on 4d or 5d transition metal–based honeycombs, in which strong spin-orbit coupling can be expected, yielding Kitaev interaction that dominates in an applied magnetic field. In contrast, for 3d-based layered honeycomb magnets, spin-orbit coupling is weak, and thus, Kitaev physics should be substantially less accessible. Here, we report our studies on BaCo2(AsO4)2, for which we find that the magnetic order associated with the non-Kitaev interactions can be fully suppressed by a relatively low magnetic field, yielding a nonmagnetic material and implying the presence of strong magnetic frustration and weak non-Kitaev interactions.

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