Significant efforts have focused on the magnetic excitations of relativistic Mott insulators, predicted to realize the Kitaev quantum spin liquid (QSL). This exactly solvable model involves a highly entangled state resulting from bond-dependent Ising interactions that produce excitations which are non-local in terms of spin flips. A key challenge in real materials is identifying the relative size of the non-Kitaev terms and their role in the emergence or suppression of fractional excitations. Here, we identify the energy and temperature boundaries of non-Kitaev interactions by direct comparison of the Raman susceptibility of α-RuCl3 with quantum Monte Carlo (QMC) results for the Kitaev QSL. Moreover, we further confirm the fractional nature of the magnetic excitations, which is given by creating a pair of fermionic quasiparticles. Interestingly, this fermionic response remains valid in the non-Kitaev range. Our results and focus on the use of the Raman susceptibility provide a stringent new test for future theoretical and experimental studies of QSLs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics