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  1. The leading order nonlinear (NL) susceptibility, χ3, in a paramagnet is negative and diverges as T → 0. This divergence is destroyed when spins correlate and the NL response provides unique insights into magnetic order. Dimensionality, exchange interaction, and preponderance of quantum effects all imprint their signatures in the NL magnetic response. Here, we study the NL susceptibilities in the proximate Kitaev magnet α-RuCl3, which differs from the expected antiferromagnetic behavior. For T < Tc = 7.5 K and field B in the ab-plane, we obtain contrasting NL responses in low (<2 T) and high field regions. For low fields, the NL behavior is dominated by a quadratic response (positive χ2), which shows a rapid rise below Tc. This large χ2 > 0 implies a broken sublattice symmetry of magnetic order at low temperatures. Classical Monte Carlo (CMC) simulations in the standard K − H − Γ model secure such a quadratic B dependence of M, only for T ≈ Tc with χ2 being zero as T → 0. It is also zero for all temperatures in exact diagonalization calculations. On the other hand, we find an exclusive cubic term (χ3) that describes the high field NL behavior well. χ3 is large and positive both below and above Tc crossing zero only for T > 50 K. In contrast, for B ∥ c-axis,more »no separate low/high field behaviors are measured and only a much smaller χ3 is apparent.« less
  2. We explore the existence of the collective orbital excitations, orbitons, in the canonical orbital system KCuF3 using the Cu L3-edge resonant inelastic x-ray scattering. We show that the nondispersive highenergy peaks result from the Cu2þ dd orbital excitations. These high-energy modes display good agreement with the ab initio quantum chemistry calculation, indicating that the dd excitations are highly localized. At the same time, the low-energy excitations present clear dispersion. They match extremely well with the two-spinon continuum following the comparison with Müller ansatz calculations. The localized dd excitations and the observation of the strongly dispersive magnetic excitations suggest that the orbiton dispersion is below the resolution detection limit. Our results can reconcile with the strong local Jahn-Teller effect in KCuF3, which predominantly drives orbital ordering.