Critical properties of the Kitaev-Heisenberg model

Craig C. Price, Natalia B. Perkins

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We study the critical properties of the Kitaev-Heisenberg model on the honeycomb lattice at finite temperatures that might describe the physics of the quasi-two-dimensional compounds, Na 2IrO 3 and Li 2IrO 3. The model undergoes two phase transitions as a function of temperature. At low temperature, thermal fluctuations induce magnetic long-range order by the order-by-disorder mechanism. This magnetically ordered state with a spontaneously broken Z 6 symmetry persists up to a certain critical temperature. We find that there is an intermediate phase between the low-temperature, ordered phase and the high-temperature, disordered phase. Finite-sized scaling analysis suggests that the intermediate phase is a critical Kosterlitz-Thouless phase with continuously variable exponents. We argue that the intermediate phase has been observed above the low-temperature, magnetically ordered phase in Na 2IrO 3, and also, likely exists in Li 2IrO 3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number187201
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number18
StatePublished - Nov 2 2012


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