"Field-induced quantum spin liquid in the Kitaev-Heisenberg model and its relation to α-RuCl3"

Yi-Fan Jiang: Thomas P. Devereaux, and Hong-Chen Jiang; Physical Review B, 10/15/19.

Additional Authors: Thomas P. Devereaux, and Hong-Chen Jiang


Recently considerable excitement has arisen due to the experimental observation of a field-induced spin liquid phase in the compound α-RuCl3. However, the nature of this putative spin liquid phase and the relevant microscopic model Hamiltonian remain still unclear. In this work, we address these questions by performing large-scale numerical simulations of a generalized Kitaev-Heisenberg model proposed to describe the physics of α-RuCl3. While an intermediate phase does not appear for in-plane magnetic fields, our results strongly suggest that a stable intermediate spin liquid phase, sandwiched between a magnetically ordered phase at low fields and a high-field polarized phase, can be induced by out-of-plane magnetic fields. Moreover, we show that this field-induced spin liquid phase can be smoothly connected to a spin liquid possessing a spinon Fermi surface as proposed recently for the Kitaev model. The relevance of our results to α-RuCl3 is also discussed.