alpha-RuCl3: a progress report

Wednesday, February 1, 2023 11:00 am - 11:00 am EST (GMT -05:00)

Quantum Matters Seminar Series

Young-June Kim, University of Toronto

Young-June Kim
Abstract: A bond-dependent anisotropic magnetic interaction called the Kitaev interaction can be found in honeycomb lattice materials with strong spin-orbit coupling, which has made a profound impact on quantum magnetism research. In particular, alpha-RuCl3 has been heralded as a realization of the Kitaev quantum spin liquid state, an elusive new state of matter that harbours Majorana fermions. In this talk, I will give a brief overview of the current status of research on alpha-RuCl3 and discuss recent experimental developments and a few surprising findings using ultra-high-quality samples grown in our laboratory. Our samples have minimal stacking faults even at low temperatures, allowing us to determine the low-temperature crystal structure unambiguously. We also found that the magnetic properties are surprisingly sensitive to the inter-layer configuration, giving rise to various magnetic transition temperatures. We also compare low-energy spin-orbit excitations in various Kitaev materials using resonant inelastic x-ray scattering (RIXS). We found that non-local physics is important for describing the spin-orbit excitations in these materials, in contrast to the conventional belief that local Jeff=1/2 physics is sufficient in these compounds.