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Continuous Mott transition between a metal and a quantum spin liquid

Mishmash, Ryan V. and González, Iván and Melko, Roger G. and Motrunich, Olexei I. and Fisher, Matthew P. A. (2015) Continuous Mott transition between a metal and a quantum spin liquid. Physical Review B, 91 (23). Art. No. 235140. ISSN 1098-0121. doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.91.235140.

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More than half a century after first being proposed by Sir Nevill Mott, the deceptively simple question of whether the interaction-driven electronic metal-insulator transition may be continuous remains enigmatic. Recent experiments on two-dimensional materials suggest that when the insulator is a quantum spin liquid, lack of magnetic long-range order on the insulating side may cause the transition to be continuous, or only very weakly first order. Motivated by this, we study a half-filled extended Hubbard model on a triangular lattice strip geometry. We argue, through use of large-scale numerical simulations and analytical bosonization, that this model harbors a continuous (Kosterlitz-Thouless-like) quantum phase transition between a metal and a gapless spin liquid characterized by a spinon Fermi surface, i.e., a “spinon metal.” These results may provide a rare insight into the development of Mott criticality in strongly interacting two-dimensional materials and represent one of the first numerical demonstrations of a Mott insulating quantum spin liquid phase in a genuinely electronic microscopic model.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper DOIArticle
Melko, Roger G.0000-0002-5505-8176
Motrunich, Olexei I.0000-0001-8031-0022
Alternate Title:A continuous Mott transition between a metal and a quantum spin liquid
Additional Information:© 2015 American Physical Society. Received 7 October 2014; revised manuscript received 21 May 2015; published 23 June 2015. We would like to thank Adrian del Maestro, Arun Paramekanti, Federico Becca, Hsin-Hua Lai, David Mross, William Witczak-Krempa, T. Senthil, and K. Kanoda for useful discussions. R.V.M. is especially grateful to Max Metlitski for help on the RG calculation discussed in Appendix B2. This work was supported by the NSF under Grants DMR-1404230 (R.V.M. and M.P.A.F.), PHY11-25915 (R.G.M.), and DMR-1206096 (O.I.M.); MICINN through Grant FIS2009–13520 (I.G.). R.G.M acknowledges support from NSERC, the Canada Research Chair program, the John Templeton Foundation, and the Perimeter Institute (PI) for Theoretical Physics. Research at PI is supported by the Government of Canada through Industry Canada and by the Province of Ontario through the Ministry of Economic Development & Innovation. We also acknowledge support by the Caltech Institute of Quantum Information and Matter, an NSF Physics Frontiers Center with the support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (O.I.M. and M.P.A.F.). This work was made possible by the computing facilities of the Center for Scientific Computing from the CNSI, MRL: an NSF MRSEC Award (DMR-1121053), and an NSF Grant (CNS-0960316); and CESGA. I.G. acknowledges hospitality from the University of California, Santa Barbara, during a research stay when much of this work was done.
Group:Institute for Quantum Information and Matter
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (MICINN)FIS2009-13520
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)UNSPECIFIED
Canada Research Chair ProgramUNSPECIFIED
John Templeton FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical PhysicsUNSPECIFIED
Industry CanadaUNSPECIFIED
Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and InnovationUNSPECIFIED
Institute for Quantum Information and Matter (IQIM)UNSPECIFIED
NSF Physics Frontiers CenterUNSPECIFIED
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Centro de Supercomputación de Galicia (CESGA)UNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:23
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140714-161947260
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:47198
Deposited By: Jacquelyn O'Sullivan
Deposited On:15 Jul 2014 00:16
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 17:36

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