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Title: Kitaev anisotropy induces mesoscopic Z2 vortex crystals in frustrated hexagonal antiferromagnets
Authors: Rousochatzakis, Ioannis
Roessler, Ulrich K.
van den Brink, Jeroen
Daghofer, Maria
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: © American Physical Society
Citation: ROUSOCHATZAKIS, I. ... et al, 2016. Kitaev anisotropy induces mesoscopic Z2 vortex crystals in frustrated hexagonal antiferromagnets. Physical Review B, 93 (10), 104417.
Abstract: The triangular-lattice Heisenberg antiferromagnet (HAF) is known to carry topological Z2 vortex excitations which form a gas at finite temperatures. Here we show that the spin-orbit interaction, introduced via a Kitaev term in the exchange Hamiltonian, condenses these vortices into a triangular Z2 vortex crystal at zero temperature. The cores of the Z2 vortices show abrupt, soliton-like magnetization modulations and arise by a special intertwining of three honeycomb superstructures of ferromagnetic domains, one for each of the three sublattices of the 120 state of the pure HAF. This is an example of a nucleation transition, analogous to the spontaneous formation of magnetic domains, Abrikosov vortices in type-II superconductors, blue phases in cholesteric liquid crystals, and skyrmions in chiral helimagnets. As the mechanism relies on the interplay of geometric frustration and spin-orbital anisotropies, such vortex mesophases can materialize as a ground state property in spin-orbit coupled correlated systems with nearly hexagonal topology, as in triangular or strongly frustrated honeycomb iridates.
Description: This paper was published in the journal Physical Review B and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.93.104417.
Sponsor: This research was sponsored by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) under the Emmy-Noether Program (1235/1).
Version: Accepted for publication
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.93.104417
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/34329
Publisher Link: https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.93.104417
ISSN: 2469-9950
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (Physics)

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