Multiple Coulomb phase in the fluoride pyrochlore CsNiCrF6

T Fennell, Mark Harris, S. Calder, M Ruminy, M Boehm, P Steffens, M H Lemee-Cailleau, O Zaharko, A Cervellino, S T Bramwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Coulomb phase is an idealized state of matter whose properties are determined by factors beyond conventional considerations of symmetry, including global topology, conservation laws and emergent order. Theoretically, Coulomb phases occur in ice-type systems such as water ice and spin ice; in dimer models; and in certain spin liquids. However, apart from ice-type systems, more general experimental examples are very scarce. Here we study the partly disordered material CsNiCrF6 and show that this material is a multiple Coulomb phase with signature correlations in three degrees of freedom: charge configurations, atom displacements and spin configurations. We use neutron and X-ray scattering to separate these correlations and to determine the magnetic excitation spectrum. Our results show how the structural and magnetic properties of apparently disordered materials may inherit, and be dictated by, a hidden symmetry—the local gauge symmetry of an underlying Coulomb phase.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-66
Number of pages7
JournalNature Physics
Early online date22 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


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