The transverse Ising magnet Hamiltonian describing the Ising chain in a transverse magnetic field is the archetypal example of a system that undergoes a transition at a quantum critical point (QCP). The columbite CoNb2O6 is the closest realization of the transverse Ising magnet found to date. At low temperatures, neutron diffraction has observed a set of discrete collective spin modes near the QCP. Here, we ask if there are low-lying spin excitations distinct from these relatively high-energy modes. Using the heat capacity, we show that a significant band of gapless spin excitations exists. At the QCP, their spin entropy rises to a prominent peak that accounts for 30% of the total spin degrees of freedom. In a narrow field interval below the QCP, the gapless excitations display a fermion-like, temperature-linear heat capacity below 1K. These novel gapless modes are the main spin excitations participating in, and affected by, the quantum transition.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)