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Vison-generated photon mass in quantum spin ice: A theoretical framework

Kwasigroch, MP; (2020) Vison-generated photon mass in quantum spin ice: A theoretical framework. Physical Review B , 102 (12) , Article 125113. 10.1103/PhysRevB.102.125113. Green open access

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Abstract

Describing the experimental signatures of quantum spin ice has been the focus of many theoretical efforts, as definitive experimental verification of this candidate quantum spin liquid is yet to be achieved. Gapped excitations known as visons have largely eluded those efforts. We provide a theoretical framework, which captures their dynamics and predicts new signatures in the magnetic response. We achieve this by studying the ring-exchange Hamiltonian of quantum spin ice in the large- s approximation, taking into account the compact nature of the emergent U(1) gauge theory. We find the stationary solutions of the action—the instantons—which correspond to visons tunneling between lattice sites. By integrating out the instantons, we calculate the effective vison Hamiltonian, including their mass. We show that in the ground state virtual vison pairs simply renormalize the speed of light and give rise to an inelastic continuum of excitations. At low temperatures, however, thermally activated visons form a Debye plasma and introduce a mass gap in the photon spectrum, equal to the plasma frequency, which we calculate as a function of temperature. We demonstrate that this dynamical mass gap should be visible in energy-resolved neutron scattering spectra but not in the energy-integrated ones. We also show that it leads to the vanishing of the susceptibility of an isolated system, through a mechanism analogous to the Meissner effect, but that it does not lead to confinement of static spinons.

Type: Article
Title: Vison-generated photon mass in quantum spin ice: A theoretical framework
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.102.125113
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.102.125113
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Mathematics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10113615
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