Physics

Making more-directional magnetic materials

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Science  08 Aug 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6197, pp. 634
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6197.634-a

Magnetic materials generally reach an ordered state when they are made cold enough. Theoretical physicists, however, came up with the fascinating concept of a quantum spin liquid (QSL), which remains in a disordered (liquidlike) state even at absolute zero. Some threedimensional (3D) materials may show hints of becoming a QSL at higher temperatures, which makes them easier to study. Modic et al. synthesized a form of the 3D compound Li2IrO3 in which magnetic interactions strongly depend on spatial direction, in line with theoretical predictions. X-ray diffraction pointed to a crystal structure made up of honeycomb planes with varying orientations. Although these crystals show magnetic ordering, the authors envision a series of related structures of this material that all could be QSLs.

Nat. Commun. 5, 4203 (2014).

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