Emergent SU(4) symmetry and quantum spin-orbital liquid in α-ZrCl3
by Dr. Masahiko Yamada (ISSP Tokyo)
Wednesday, September 26, 2018 from to (Asia/Kolkata)
While the enhancement of spin-space symmetry from the usual SU(2) to SU(N) is promising for finding nontrivial quantum spin liquids, its realization in magnetic materials remains challenging. Here, we propose a new mechanism by which SU(4) symmetry emerges in the strong spin-orbit coupling limit. In d1 transition metal compounds with edge-sharing anion octahedra, the spin-orbit coupling gives rise to strongly bond-dependent and apparently SU(4)-breaking hopping between the j=3/2 quartets. However, in the honeycomb structure, a gauge transformation maps the system to an SU(4)-symmetric Hubbard model. In the strong repulsion limit at quarter filling, as realized in α-ZrCl3, the low-energy effective model is the SU(4) Heisenberg model on the honeycomb lattice, which cannot have a trivial gapped ground state and is expected to host a quantum spin-orbital liquid.