Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Quantum mapmakers complete first voyage through spin liquid

Date:
April 8, 2011
Source:
University of Oxford
Summary:
Scientists have mapped a state of matter called 'quantum spin liquid', whose existence was proposed in the 1970s but which has only been observed recently.

Applying a small magnetic field to the quantum spin liquid state found in κ-(BEDT-TTF)2Cu2(CN)3 causes weak magnetism to form demonstrating the delicate nature of the quantum spin liquid state
Credit: Francis Pratt / ISIS / STFC

Scientists from Oxford University have mapped a state of matter called 'quantum spin liquid', whose existence was proposed in the 1970s but which has only been observed recently.

Until now there has been very limited information describing the physical characteristics of a quantum spin liquid state, but researchers from Oxford University's Department of Physics working with the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory have demonstrated the effect of temperature and magnetic field on this state of matter. The results are published in a Nature paper.

The scientists mapped quantum spin liquid by implanting muons -- sub-atomic particles which come from space but can also be produced in particle accelerators -- into the spin liquid in order to measure the microscopic magnetism. The experiments used the muon sources at ISIS in Oxfordshire and the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland.

Professor Stephen Blundell of the Department of Physics explained: 'Muons are an excellent tool for this kind of study because they are a very sensitive probe of weak magnetism and fluctuating states, just as we have now found in mapping the spin liquid state.'

The quantum spin liquid state is found in 70 milligrams of tiny black crystals of an organic material cooled to just a couple of hundredths of a degree above absolute zero. Inside the material, magnetic atoms are arranged on triangular grids and behave as 'quantum spins'. The interactions between these spins make them liquid-like, so they never freeze into one configuration. This behaviour is completely different to that of more familiar magnets found in everyday life in which, at some particular temperature, the quantum spins become locked into a particular configuration.

Dr Tom Lancaster of the Department of Physics said: 'The organic material we have used is a really remarkable compound. This is because its interactions seem perfectly tuned to achieve this spin liquid state.'

Dr Francis Pratt of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory said: 'Since the idea was proposed there have been over 800 papers published speculating on the properties of quantum spin liquids, but until now there has been very little experimental evidence to compare these ideas with.'


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oxford. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. F. L. Pratt, P. J. Baker, S. J. Blundell, T. Lancaster, S. Ohira-Kawamura, C. Baines, Y. Shimizu, K. Kanoda, I. Watanabe, G. Saito. Magnetic and non-magnetic phases of a quantum spin liquid. Nature, 2011; 471 (7340): 612 DOI: 10.1038/nature09910

Cite This Page:

University of Oxford. "Quantum mapmakers complete first voyage through spin liquid." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110405123245.htm>.
University of Oxford. (2011, April 8). Quantum mapmakers complete first voyage through spin liquid. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110405123245.htm
University of Oxford. "Quantum mapmakers complete first voyage through spin liquid." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110405123245.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) — Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) — TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) — Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) — When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins