Unconventional magnetic field response of the hyperhoneycomb Kitaev magnet β-Li2IrO3

Mengqun Li, Ioannis Rousochatzakis, Natalia B. Perkins

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We present a unified description of the response of the hyperhoneycomb Kitaev magnet β-Li2IrO3 to applied magnetic fields along the orthorhombic directions a, b, and c. This description is based on the minimal nearest-neighbor J-K-Γ model and builds on the idea that the incommensurate counter-rotating order observed experimentally at zero field can be treated as a long-distance twisting of a nearby commensurate order with six spin sublattices. The results reveal that the behavior of the system for H∥a, H∥b, and H∥c share a number of qualitative features, including (i) a strong intertwining of the modulated, counter-rotating order with a set of uniform orders; (ii) the disappearance of the modulated order at a critical field H∗, whose value is strongly anisotropic with Hb∗<Hc∗≪Ha∗; (iii) the presence of a robust zigzag phase above H∗; and (iv) the fulfillment of the Bragg peak intensity sum rule. It is noteworthy that the disappearance of the modulated order for H∥c proceeds via a "metamagnetic"first-order transition which does not restore all broken symmetries. This implies the existence of a second finite-T phase transition at higher magnetic fields. We also demonstrate that quantum fluctuations give rise to a significant reduction of the local moments for all directions of the field. The results for the total magnetization for H∥b are consistent with available data and confirm a previous assertion that the system is very close to the highly frustrated K-Γ line in parameter space. Our predictions for the magnetic response for fields along a and c await experimental verification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number013065
JournalPhysical Review Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020

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© 2020 authors. Published by the American Physical Society. Published by the American Physical Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the published article's title, journal citation, and DOI.


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