At low temperatures, Tb2Ti2O7 enters a spin liquid state, despite expectations of magnetic order and/or a structural distortion. Using neutron scattering, we have discovered that in this spin liquid state an excited crystal field level is coupled to a transverse acoustic phonon, forming a hybrid excitation. Magnetic and phononlike branches with identical dispersion relations can be identified, and the hybridization vanishes in the paramagnetic state. We suggest that Tb2Ti2O7 is aptly named a "magnetoelastic spin liquid" and that the hybridization of the excitations suppresses both magnetic ordering and the structural distortion. The spin liquid phase of Tb2Ti2O7 can now be regarded as a Coulomb phase with propagating bosonic spin excitations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)