Surprises on the Way from One- to Two-Dimensional Quantum Magnets: The Ladder Materials

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Science  02 Feb 1996:
Vol. 271, Issue 5249, pp. 618-623
DOI: 10.1126/science.271.5249.618


To make the transition from the quasi-long-range order in a chain of antiferromagnetically coupled S = 1/2 spins to the true long-range order that occurs in a plane, one can assemble chains to make ladders of increasing width. Surprisingly, this crossover between one and two dimensions is not at all smooth. Ladders with an even number of legs have purely short-range magnetic order and a finite energy gap to all magnetic excitations. Predictions of this ground state have now been verified experimentally. Holes doped into these ladders are predicted to pair and possibly superconduct.

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