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Relation between Kitaev magnetism and structure in $\alpha$-RuCl$_3$

By A. Glamazda, P. Lemmens, S. -H. Do, Y. S. Kwon and K. -Y. Choi


Raman scattering has been employed to investigate lattice and magnetic excitations of the honeycomb Kitaev material $\alpha$-RuCl$_3$ and its Heisenberg counterpart CrCl$_3$. Our phonon Raman spectra give evidence for a first-order structural transition from a monoclinic to a rhombohedral structure for both compounds. Significantly, only $\alpha$-RuCl$_3$ features a large thermal hysteresis, consistent with the formation of a wide phase of coexistence. In the related temperature interval of $70-170$ K, we observe a hysteretic behavior of magnetic excitations as well. The stronger magnetic response in the rhombohedral compared to the monoclinic phase evidences a coupling between the crystallographic structure and low-energy magnetic response. Our results demonstrate that the Kitaev magnetism concomitant with fractionalized excitations is susceptible to small variations of bonding geometry.Comment: 9 pages, 8 figures, To appear in PR

Topics: Condensed Matter - Strongly Correlated Electrons
Publisher: 'American Physical Society (APS)'
Year: 2017
DOI identifier: 10.1103/PhysRevB.95.174429
OAI identifier:

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