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Phys Rev Lett. 2012 Aug 31;109(9):097205. Epub 2012 Aug 28.

Vindication of Yb2Ti2O7 as a model exchange quantum spin ice.

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Physics Department, University of California at Davis, Davis, California 95616, USA.


We use numerical linked-cluster expansions to compute the specific heat C(T) and entropy S(T) of a quantum spin ice Hamiltonian for Yb2Ti2O7 using anisotropic exchange interactions, recently determined from inelastic neutron scattering measurements, and find good agreement with experimental calorimetric data. This vindicates Yb2Ti2O7 as a model quantum spin ice. We find that in the perturbative weak quantum regime, such a system has a ferrimagnetic ordered ground state, with two peaks in C(T): a Schottky anomaly signaling the paramagnetic to spin ice crossover, followed at a lower temperature by a sharp peak accompanying a first-order phase transition to the ordered state. We suggest that the two C(T) features observed in Yb2Ti2O7 are associated with the same physics. Spin excitations in this regime consist of weakly confined spinon-antispinon pairs. We anticipate that the conventional ground state with exotic quantum dynamics will prove a prevalent characteristic of many real quantum spin ice materials.

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