Field-Induced Freezing of a Quantum Spin Liquid on the Kagome Lattice

M Jeong, Fabrice Bert, Philippe Mendels, Fabienne Duc, J.-C. Trombe, Mark A. de Vries, Andrew Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report 17O NMR measurements in the S = 1/2 (Cu2+ ) kagome antiferromagnet Herbertsmithite ZnCu3(OH)6 Cl2 down to 45 mK in magnetic fields ranging from 2 T to 12 T. While Herbertsmithite displays a gapless spin-liquid behavior in zero field, we uncover an instability toward a spin-solid phase at sub-kelvin temperature induced by an applied magnetic field. The latter phase shows largely suppressed moments < 0.1μB and gapped excitations. The H−T phase diagram exhibits a quantum critical point at the small but finite magnetic field Hc = 1.52(4) T. We discuss this finding in light of the perturbative Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction. The latter is indeed found theoretically to sustain a quantum critical regime for the quantum kagome Heisenberg antiferromagnet model.
Original languageEnglish
Article number237201
Pages (from-to)-
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2011


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