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Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33072886


The spin- 1 2 kagome antiferromagnet is considered an ideal host for a quantum spin liquid (QSL) ground state. We find that when the bonds of the kagome lattice are modulated with a periodic pattern, new quantum ground states emerge. Newly synthesized crystalline barlowite (Cu4(OH)6FBr) and Zn-substituted barlowite demonstrate the delicate interplay between singlet states and spin order on the spin- 1 2 kagome lattice. Comprehensive structural measurements demonstrate that our new variant of barlowite maintains hexagonal symmetry at low temperatures with an arrangement of distorted and undistorted kagome triangles, for which numerical simulations predict a pinwheel valence bond crystal (VBC) state instead of a QSL. The presence of interlayer spins eventually leads to an interesting pinwheel q = 0 magnetic order. Partially Zn-substituted barlowite (Cu3.44Zn0.56(OH)6FBr) has an ideal kagome lattice and shows QSL behavior, indicating a surprising robustness of the QSL against interlayer impurities. The magnetic susceptibility is similar to that of herbertsmithite, even though the Cu2+ impurities are above the percolation threshold for the interlayer lattice and they couple more strongly to the nearest kagome moment. This system is a unique playground displaying QSL, VBC, and spin order, furthering our understanding of these highly competitive quantum states.

Phys Rev Mater ; 4(12)2020.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34095744


Realizing a quantum spin liquid (QSL) ground state in a real material is a leading issue in condensed matter physics research. In this pursuit, it is crucial to fully characterize the structure and influence of defects, as these can significantly affect the fragile QSL physics. Here, we perform a variety of cutting-edge synchrotron X-ray scattering and spectroscopy techniques, and we advance new methodologies for site-specific diffraction and L-edge Zn absorption spectroscopy. The experimental results along with our first-principles calculations address outstanding questions about the local and long-range structures of the two leading kagome QSL candidates, Zn-substituted barlowite (Cu3Zn x Cu1-x (OH)6FBr) and herbertsmithite (Cu3Zn(OH)6Cl2). On all length scales probed, there is no evidence that Zn substitutes onto the kagome layers, thereby preserving the QSL physics of the kagome lattice. Our calculations show that antisite disorder is not energetically favorable and is even less favorable in Zn-barlowite compared to herbertsmithite. Site-specific X-ray diffraction measurements of Zn-barlowite reveal that Cu2+ and Zn2+ selectively occupy distinct interlayer sites, in contrast to herbertsmithite. Using the first measured Zn L-edge inelastic X-ray absorption spectra combined with calculations, we discover a systematic correlation between the loss of inversion symmetry from pseudo-octahedral (herbertsmithite) to trigonal prismatic coordination (Zn-barlowite) with the emergence of a new peak. Overall, our measurements suggest that Zn-barlowite has structural advantages over herbertsmithite that make its magnetic properties closer to an ideal QSL candidate: its kagome layers are highly resistant to nonmagnetic defects while the interlayers can accommodate a higher amount of Zn substitution.