Electrical Transport Signature of the Magnetic Fluctuation-Structure Relation in α-RuCl3 Nanoflakes

Soudabeh Mashhadi, Daniel Weber, Leslie M. Schoop, Armin Schulz, Bettina V. Lotsch, Marko Burghard, Klaus Kern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

The small gap semiconductor α-RuCl3 has emerged as a promising candidate for quantum spin liquid materials. Thus far, Raman spectroscopy, neutron scattering, and magnetization measurements have provided valuable hints for collective spin behavior in α-RuCl3 bulk crystals. However, the goal of implementing α-RuCl3 into spintronic devices would strongly benefit from the possibility of electrically probing these phenomena. To address this, we first investigated nanoflakes of α-RuCl3 by Raman spectroscopy and observed similar behavior as in the case of the bulk material, including the signatures of possible fractionalized excitations. In complementary experiments, we investigated the electrical charge transport properties of individual α-RuCl3 nanoflakes in the temperature range between 120 and 290 K. The observed temperature-dependent electrical resistivity is consistent with variable range hopping behavior and exhibits a transition at about 180 K, close to the onset temperature observed in our Raman measurements. In conjunction with the established relation between structure and magnetism in the bulk, we interpret this transition to coincide with the emergence of fractionalized excitations due to the Kitaev interactions in the nanoflakes. Compared to the bulk samples, the transition temperature of the underlying structural change is larger in the nanoflakes. This difference is tentatively attributed to the dimensionality of the nanoflakes as well as the formation of stacking faults during mechanical exfoliation. The demonstrated devices open up novel perspectives toward manipulating the Kitaev-phase in α-RuCl3 via electrical means.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3203-3208
Number of pages6
JournalNano Letters
Volume18
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 9 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering

Keywords

  • Kitaev interactions
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • electrical transport
  • spin-orbit assisted Mott insulator
  • structural transition
  • variable range hopping
  • α-RuCl

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