Giant magnetic in-plane anisotropy and competing instabilities in Na3Co2SbO6

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American Physical Society
We report magnetometry data obtained on twin-free single crystals of Na3Co2SbO6, which is considered a candidate material for realizing the Kitaev honeycomb model for quantum spin liquids. Contrary to a common belief that such materials can be modeled with the symmetries of an ideal honeycomb lattice, our data reveal a pronounced twofold symmetry and in-plane anisotropy of over 200%, despite the honeycomb layer’s tiny orthorhombic distortion of less than 0.2%. We further use magnetic neutron diffraction to elucidate a rich variety of field-induced phases observed in the magnetometry. These phases manifest themselves in the paramagnetic state as diffuse scattering signals associated with competing ferromagnetic and antiferromagnetic instabilities, consistent with a theory that also predicts a quantum spin liquid phase nearby. Our results call for theoretical understanding of the observed in-plane anisotropy and render Na3Co2SbO6 a promising ground for finding exotic quantum phases by targeted external tuning. © Published by the American Physical Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the published article’s title, journal citation, and DOI.
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Anisotropy, Phase transformations, Spin, Crystals, Crystal lattices, Honeycomb structures, Neutron diffraction, Quantum states
Li, X., Gu, Y., Chen, Y., Garlea, V. O., Iida, K., Kamazawa, K., Li, Y., Deng, G., Xiao, Q., Zheng, X., Ye, Z., Peng, Y., Zaliznyak, I. A., Tranquada, J. M., & Li, Y. (2022). Giant magnetic in-plane anisotropy and competing instabilities in Na3Co2SbO6. Physical Review X, 12(4), 041024. doi:10.1103/PhysRevX.12.041024