Impurity-induced resonant spinon zero modes in Dirac quantum spin liquids

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Abstract

Quantum spin liquids are strongly correlated phases of matter displaying a highly entangled ground state. Because of their unconventional nature, finding experimental signatures of these states has proven to be a remarkable challenge. Here we show that the effects of local impurities can provide strong signatures of a Dirac quantum spin-liquid state. Focusing on a gapless Dirac quantum spin-liquid state as realized in NaYbO2, we show that a single magnetic impurity coupled to the quantum spin-liquid state creates a resonant spinon peak at zero frequency, coexisting with the original Dirac spinons. We explore the spatial dependence of this zero-bias resonance and show how different zero modes stemming from several impurities interfere. We finally address how such spinon zero-mode resonances can be experimentally probed with inelastic spectroscopy and electrically driven paramagnetic resonance with scanning tunnel microscopy. Our results put forward impurity engineering as a means of identifying Dirac quantum spin liquids with scanning probe techniques, highlighting the dramatic impact of magnetic impurities in a macroscopically entangled many-body ground state.
Original languageEnglish
Article number033466
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalPHYSICAL REVIEW RESEARCH
Volume2
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sep 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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