"Evidence for a gapped spin-liquid ground state in a kagome Heisenberg antiferromagnet"

Mingxuan Fu: Takashi Imai, Tian-Heng Han, Young S. Lee; Science , 11/06/15.

Additional Authors: Takashi Imai, Tian-Heng Han, Young S. Lee


The kagome Heisenberg antiferromagnet is a leading candidate in the search for a spin system with a quantum spin-liquid ground state. The nature of its ground state remains a matter of active debate. We conducted oxygen-17 single-crystal nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) measurements of the spin-1/2 kagome lattice in herbertsmithite [ZnCu3(OH)6Cl2], which is known to exhibit a spinon continuum in the spin excitation spectrum. We demonstrated that the intrinsic local spin susceptibility ckagome, deduced from the oxygen-17 NMR frequency shift, asymptotes to zero below temperatures of 0.03J, where J ~ 200 kelvin is the copper-copper superexchange interaction. Combined with the magnetic field dependence of ckagome that we observed at low temperatures, these results imply that the kagome Heisenberg antiferromagnet has a spin-liquid ground state with a finite gap.