Inelastic X-ray scattering with meV energy resolution (IXS) is an ideal tool to measure collective excitations in solids and liquids. In non-resonant scattering condition, the cross-section is strongly dominated by lattice vibrations (phonons). However, it is possible to probe additional degrees of freedom such as magnetic fluctuations that are strongly coupled to the phonons. The IXS spectrum of the coupled system contains not only the phonon dispersion but also the so far undetected magnetic correlation function. Here we report the observation of strong magnon-phonon coupling in LiCrO 2 that enables the measurement of magnetic correlations throughout the Brillouin zone via IXS. We find electromagnon excitations and electric dipole active two-magnon excitations in the magnetically ordered phase and heavily damped electromagnons in the paramagnetic phase of LiCrO 2. We predict that several (frustrated) magnets with dominant direct exchange and non-collinear magnetism show surprisingly large IXS cross-section for magnons and multi-magnon processes.
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