May 11, 2020  
Future information technologies: 3D Quantum spin liquid revealed(Nanowerk News) IT devices today are based on electronic processes in semiconductors. The next real breakthrough could be to exploit other quantum phenomena, for example interactions between tiny magnetic moments in the material, the socalled spins. 

Socalled quantumspin liquid materials could be candidates for such new technologies. They differ significantly from conventional magnetic materials because quantum fluctuations dominate the magnetic interactions: Due to geometric constraints in the crystal lattice, spins cannot all "freeze" together in a ground state  they are forced to fluctuate, even at temperatures close to absolute zero.  
Quantum spin liquids: a rare phenomenon 

Quantum spin liquids are rare and have so far been found mainly in twodimensional magnetic systems. Threedimensional isotropic spin liquids are mostly sought in materials where the magnetic ions form pyrochlore or hyperkagome lattices.  
Two of the four magnetic interactions form a new threedimensional network of cornersharing triangles, known as the hyperhyperkagome lattice, leading to the quantum spin liquid behavior in PbCuTe2O6. (Image: HZB)  
An international team led by HZB physicist Prof. Bella Lake has now investigated samples of PbCuTe2O6, which has a threedimensional lattice called hyperhyperkagome lattice (Nature Communications, "Evidence for a threedimensional quantum spin liquid in PbCuTe2O6").  
Magnetic interactions simulated 

HZB physicist Prof. Johannes Reuther calculated the behaviour of such a threedimensional hyperhyperkagome lattice with four magnetic interactions and showed that the system exhibits quantumspin liquid behaviour with a specific magnetic energy spectrum.  
Experiments at neutron sources find 3D quantum spin liquid 

With neutron experiments at ISIS, UK, ILL, France and NIST, USA the team was able to prove the very subtle signals of this predicted behaviour. "We were surprised how well our data fit into the calculations. This gives us hope that we can really understand what happens in these systems," explains first author Dr. Shravani Chillal, HZB. 
Source: HelmholtzZentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie  
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