"Dynamical time-reversal symmetry breaking and photo-induced chiral spin liquids in frustrated Mott insulators"

Martin Claassen: Hong-Chen Jiang, Brian Moritz & Thomas P. Devereaux; Nature Communications, 10/30/17.

Additional Authors: Hong-Chen Jiang, Brian Moritz & Thomas P. Devereaux


The search for quantum spin liquids in frustrated quantum magnets recently has enjoyed a surge of interest, with various candidate materials under intense scrutiny. However, an experimental confirmation of a gapped topological spin liquid remains an open question. Here, we show that circularly polarized light can provide a knob to drive frustrated Mott insulators into a chiral spin liquid, realizing an elusive quantum spin liquid with topological order. We find that the dynamics of a driven Kagome Mott insulator is well-captured by an effective Floquet spin model, with heating strongly suppressed, inducing a scalar spin chirality Si · (Sj × Sk) term which dynamically breaks time-reversal while preserving SU(2) spin symmetry. We fingerprint the transient phase diagram and find a stable photo-induced chiral spin liquid near the equilibrium state. The results presented suggest employing dynamical symmetry breaking to engineer quantum spin liquids and access elusive phase transitions that are not readily accessible in equilibrium.