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Probing multi-spinon excitations outside of the two-spinon continuum in the antiferromagnetic spin chain cuprate Sr2CuO3

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-07838-y DOI Help

Authors: J. Schlappa (European X-Ray Free-Electron Laser Facility GmbH; Paul Scherrer Institut) , U. Kumar (The University of Tennessee) , K. J. Zhou (Paul Scherrer Institut; Diamond Light Source) , S. Singh (Indian Institute of Science Education and Research) , M. Mourigal (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) , V. N. Strocov (Paul Scherrer Institut) , A. Revcolevschi (Université Paris-Sud 11) , L. Patthey (Paul Scherrer Institut) , H. M. Ronnow (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) , S. Johnston (The University of Tennessee) , T. Schmitt (Paul Scherrer Institute)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Nature Communications , VOL 9

State: Published (Approved)
Published: December 2018

Open Access Open Access

Abstract: One-dimensional (1D) magnetic insulators have attracted significant interest as a platform for studying quasiparticle fractionalization, quantum criticality, and emergent phenomena. The spin-1/2 Heisenberg chain with antiferromagnetic nearest neighbour interactions is an important reference system; its elementary magnetic excitations are spin-1/2 quasiparticles called spinons that are created in even numbers. However, while the excitation continuum associated with two-spinon states is routinely observed, the study of four-spinon and higher multi-spinon states is an open area of research. Here we show that four-spinon excitations can be accessed directly in Sr2CuO3 using resonant inelastic x-ray scattering (RIXS) in a region of phase space clearly separated from the two-spinon continuum. Our finding is made possible by the fundamental differences in the correlation function probed by RIXS in comparison to other probes. This advance holds promise as a tool in the search for novel quantum states and quantum spin liquids.

Journal Keywords: Electronic properties and materials; Magnetic properties and materials

Subject Areas: Materials, Physics

Facility: Swiss Light Source


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