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Published May 1, 2006 | Published
Journal Article Open

Theory of the algebraic vortex liquid in an anisotropic spin-(1/2) triangular antiferromagnet


We explore spin-(1/2) triangular antiferromagnets with both easy-plane and lattice exchange anisotropies by employing a dual vortex mapping followed by a fermionization of the vortices. Over a broad range of exchange anisotropy, this approach leads naturally to a "critical" spin liquid—the algebraic vortex liquid—which appears to be distinct from other known spin liquids. We present a detailed characterization of this state, which is described in terms of noncompact QED3 with an emergent SU(4) symmetry. Descendant phases of the algebraic vortex liquid are also explored, which include the Kalmeyer-Laughlin spin liquid, a variety of magnetically ordered states such as the well-known coplanar spiral state, and supersolids. In the range of exchange anisotropy where the "square lattice" Néel ground state arises, we demonstrate that anomalous "roton" minima in the excitation spectrum recently reported in series expansions can be accounted for within our approach.

Additional Information

© 2006 The American Physical Society (Received 18 December 2005; published 24 May 2006) The authors would like to acknowledge Leon Balents and T. Senthil for many illuminating discussions, and especially Mike Hermele for an initial collaboration. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (J.A.) through Grant Nos. PHY-9907949 (O.I.M. and M.P.A.F.) and DMR-0529399 (M.P.A.F.).

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