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Title: Quantum liquid from strange frustration in the trimer magnet Ba4Ir3O10

Quantum spin systems such as magnetic insulators usually show magnetic order, but such classical states can give way toquantum liquids with exotic entanglementthrough two known mechanisms of frustration: geometric frustration in lattices with triangle motifs, and spin-orbit-coupling frustration in the exactly solvable quantum liquid of Kitaev’s honeycomb lattice. Here we present the experimental observation of a new kind of frustrated quantum liquid arising in an unlikely place: the magnetic insulator Ba4Ir3O10where Ir3O12trimers form an unfrustrated square lattice. The crystal structure shows no apparent spin chains. Experimentally we find a quantum liquid state persisting down to 0.2 K that is stabilized by strong antiferromagnetic interaction with Curie–Weiss temperature ranging from −766 to −169 K due to magnetic anisotropy. The anisotropy-averaged frustration parameter is 2000, seldom seen in iridates. Heat capacity and thermal conductivity are both linear at low temperatures, a familiar feature in metals but here in an insulator pointing to an exotic quantum liquid state; a mere 2% Sr substitution for Ba produces long-range order at 130 K and destroys the linear-T features. Although the Ir4+(5d5) ions in Ba4Ir3O10appear to form Ir3O12trimers of face-sharing IrO6octahedra, we propose that intra-trimer exchange is reduced and the lattice recombines into an array of coupled 1D chains with additional spins. An extreme limit of decoupled 1D chains can explain most but not all of the striking experimental observations, indicating that the inter-chain coupling plays an important role in the frustration mechanism leading to this quantum liquid.

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Nature Publishing Group
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Journal Name:
npj Quantum Materials
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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