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Monday, January 30, 2017
Abstract-Double vibronic process in the quantum spin ice candidate Tb 2 Ti 2 O 7 revealed by terahertz spectroscopy
E. Constable, R. Ballou, J. Robert, C. Decorse, J.-B. Brubach, P. Roy, E. Lhotel, L. Del-Rey, V. Simonet, S. Petit, and S. deBrion
The origin of quantum fluctuations responsible for the spin liquid state in Tb2Ti2O7 has remained a long-standing problem. By synchrotron-based terahertz measurements, we show evidence of strong coupling between the magnetic and lattice degrees of freedom that provides a path to the quantum melting process. As revealed by hybrid crystal electric field-phonon excitations that appear at 0.67 THz below 200 K, and around 0.42 THz below 50 K, the double vibronic process is unique for Tb3+ in the titanate family due to adequate energy matching and strong quadrupolar moments. The results suggest that lattice motion can indeed be the driving force behind spin flips within the hybridized ground and first excited states, promoting quantum terms in the effective Hamiltonian that describes Tb2Ti2O7.