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PhD student Jacob Gordon has Developed a Microscopic Model for Non-Abelian Anyons in Solid-State Materials

Elementary excitations in highly entangled states such as quantum spin liquids may exhibit exotic statistics, different from those obeyed by fundamental bosons and fermions.
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Excitations called non-Abelian anyons are predicted to exist in a Kitaev spin liquid - the ground state of an exactly solvable model proposed by Kitaev almost a decade ago. A smoking-gun signature of such non-Abelian anyons, namely a half-integer quantized thermal Hall conductivity, was recently reported in alpha-RuCl3.  While fascinating, a microscopic theory for this phenomenon in alpha-RuCl3 remains elusive because the pure Kitaev phase cannot capture these anyons appearing in an intermediate magnetic field. Mr. Gordon and his collaborators find a  generic microscopic theory of the Kitaev spin liquid emerging between the low- and high-field states, and predict a way to find a wide regime of non-Abelian anyon Kitaev spin liquid. This work was done under the supervision of Prof. Hae-Young Kee, and published in Nature Communications, June 2019 (add link here: )