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Highly Mobile Gapless Excitations in a Two-Dimensional Candidate Quantum Spin Liquid

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Science  04 Jun 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5983, pp. 1246-1248
DOI: 10.1126/science.1188200

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Abstract

The nature of quantum spin liquids, a novel state of matter where strong quantum fluctuations destroy the long-range magnetic order even at zero temperature, is a long-standing issue in physics. We measured the low-temperature thermal conductivity of the recently discovered quantum spin liquid candidate, the organic insulator EtMe3Sb[Pd(dmit)2]2. A sizable linear temperature dependence term is clearly resolved in the zero-temperature limit, indicating the presence of gapless excitations with an extremely long mean free path, analogous to excitations near the Fermi surface in pure metals. Its magnetic field dependence suggests a concomitant appearance of spin-gap–like excitations at low temperatures. These findings expose a highly unusual dichotomy that characterizes the low-energy physics of this quantum system.

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