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Jun 10, 2019

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.

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

Jacob Gordon

 
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: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-10405-8)