New experimental evidence for a rare quantum spin liquid phase in Ce2Zr2O7 has been provided by analysis of neutron scattering, heat capacity, and magnetic susceptibility measurements. A quantum spin liquid is an enigmatic and extremely sought-after magnetic phase in which the magnetic spins remain disordered and fluctuate in a quantum-entangled manner down to zero temperature.
They are of great interest, as they possess novel excited states for whom we have little familiarity. Furthermore, the long-ranged quantum-entanglement in these systems is a requirement for quantum technologies including quantum computing. Ce2Zr2O7 is a particular quantum spin liquid candidate that has been gaining much attention recently, offering the possibility for new quantum spin liquid phases at low temperature due to the "dipolar-octupolar" character of the cerium magnetic spins.
This new work lays out in detail the case for such a quantum spin liquid phase at low temperature in Ce2Zr2O7 and identifies this as a novel quantum spin liquid phase near the boundary between "dipolar" and "octupolar" nature.
This work establishes interaction parameters in Ce2Zr2O7, thereby raising the level of discussion in this and related quantum spin liquid candidate materials. It also employs a novel marriage between theory and experiment which will find broad applicability in understanding of novel phases of magnetic materials.