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October 2, 2019

A 3D representation of the spin-excitation continuum

A 3D representation of the spin-excitation continuum -- a possible hallmark of a quantum spin liquid -- observed in a single crystal sample of cerium zirconium pyrochlore in experiments at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Inelastic neutron-scattering experiments at ORNL’s Spallation Neutron Source revealed spin-excitation continua in samples of cerium zirconium pyrochlore that were cooled as low 35 millikelvin.

In a published paper, researchers offered a host of experimental evidence to support their case that cerium zirconium pyrochlore, in its single-crystal form, is the first material that qualifies as a 3D quantum spin liquid.

The research was supported in part by National Science Foundation grant DMR 13-50237.

Learn more about this research in the Rice news story Physicists find first possible 3D quantum spin liquid. (Date image taken: June 2019; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: Oct. 2. 2019)

Credit: Tong Chen/Rice University

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