"Magnetism and local symmetry breaking in a Mott insulator with strong spin orbit interactions"

L. Lu: M. Song, W. Liu, A. P. Reyes, P. Kuhns, H. O. Lee, I. R. Fisher & V. F. Mitrović; Nature Communications, 02/09/17.

Additional Authors: M. Song, W. Liu, A. P. Reyes, P. Kuhns, H. O. Lee, I. R. Fisher & V. F. Mitrović


Study of the combined effects of strong electronic correlations with spin-orbit coupling (SOC) represents a central issue in quantum materials research. Predicting emergent properties represents a huge theoretical problem since the presence of SOC implies that the spin is not a good quantum number. Existing theories propose the emergence of a multitude of exotic quantum phases, distinguishable by either local point symmetry breaking or local spin expectation values, even in materials with simple cubic crystal structure such as Ba2NaOsO6. Experimental tests of these theories by local probes are highly sought for. Our local measurements designed to concurrently probe spin and orbital/lattice degrees of freedom of Ba2NaOsO6 provide such tests. Here we show that a canted ferromagnetic phase which is preceded by local point symmetry breaking is stabilized at low temperatures, as predicted by quantum theories involving multipolar spin interactions.