Hidden order in spin-liquid Gd3Ga5O12

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Science  09 Oct 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6257, pp. 179-181
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa5326

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Elucidating order within disorder

In some materials, the geometry of the crystal lattice gets in the way of magnetic ordering. Their spins, although magnetically interacting, remain seemingly disordered and form a so-called spin liquid. Paddison et al. propose a different model for the spin-liquid compound Gd3Ga5O12. Neutron diffraction measurements and numerical techniques revealed that even though individual spins in this material were disordered, they formed 10-spin loops that were correlated with one another. The nature of this “hidden order” was such that it escaped direct detection by conventional techniques

Science, this issue p. 179