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  1. Abstract Kondo lattice materials, where localized magnetic moments couple to itinerant electrons, provide a very rich backdrop for strong electron correlations. They are known to realize many exotic phenomena, with a dramatic example being recent observations of quantum oscillations and metallic thermal conduction in insulators, implying the emergence of enigmatic charge-neutral fermions. Here, we show that thermal conductivity and specific heat measurements in insulating YbIr 3 Si 7 reveal emergent neutral excitations, whose properties are sensitively changed by a field-driven transition between two antiferromagnetic phases. In the low-field phase, a significant violation of the Wiedemann-Franz law demonstrates that YbIr 3 Si 7 is a charge insulator but a thermal metal. In the high-field phase, thermal conductivity exhibits a sharp drop below 300 mK, indicating a transition from a thermal metal into an insulator/semimetal driven by the magnetic transition. These results suggest that spin degrees of freedom directly couple to the neutral fermions, whose emergent Fermi surface undergoes a field-driven instability at low temperatures.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  2. Fascinating new phases of matter can emerge from strong electron interactions in solids. In recent years, a new exotic class of many-body phases, described by generalized electromagnetism of symmetric rank-2 electric and magnetic fields and immobile charge excitations dubbed fractons, has attracted wide attention. Beside interesting properties in their own right, they are also closely related to gapped fracton quantum orders, new phases of dipole-coversing systems, quantum information, and quantum gravity. However, experimental realization of the rank-2 U(1) gauge theory is still absent, and even known practical experimental routes are scarce. In this work we propose a scheme of coupled optical phonons and nematics as well as several of its concrete experimental constructions. They can realize the electrostatics sector of the rank-2 U(1) gauge theory. A great advantage of our scheme is that it requires only basic ingredients of phonon and nematic physics, hence can be applied to a wide range of nematic matters from liquid crystals to electron orbitals. We expect this work will provide crucial guidance for the realization of rank-2 U(1) and fracton states of matter on a variety of platforms.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  3. Magnetic frustrations and dimensionality play an important role in determining the nature of the magnetic long-range order and how it melts at temperatures above the ordering transition TN. In this work, we use large-scale Monte Carlo simulations to study these phenomena in a class of frustrated Ising spin models in two spatial dimensions. We find that the melting of the magnetic long-range order into an isotropic gas-like paramagnet proceeds via an intermediate stage where the classical spins remain anisotropically correlated. This correlated paramagnet exists in a temperature range TN < T < T, whose width increases as magnetic frustrations grow. This intermediate phase is typically characterized by short-range correlations, however the two-dimensional nature of the model allows for an additional exotic feature – formation of an incommensurate liquid-like phase with algebraically decaying spin correlations. The two-stage melting of magnetic order is generic and pertinent to many frustrated quasi-2D magnets with large (essentially classical) spins.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023