Electronic Properties of Solid

Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Physics

, Volume 116, Issue 5, pp 848-853

First online:

Strongly correlated quantum spin liquid in herbertsmithite

  • V. R. ShaginyanAffiliated withPetersburg Nuclear Physics Institute Email author 
  • , K. G. PopovAffiliated withKomi Science Center, Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences
  • , V. A. KhodelAffiliated withRussian Research Centre Kurchatov InstituteMcDonnell Center for the Space Sciences and Department of Physics, Washington University

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Strongly correlated Fermi systems are among the most intriguing and fundamental systems in physics. We show that the herbertsmithite ZnCu3(OH)6Cl2 can be regarded as a new type of strongly correlated electrical insulator that possesses properties of heavy-fermion metals with one exception: it resists the flow of electric charge. We demonstrate that herbertsmithite’s low-temperature properties are defined by a strongly correlated quantum spin liquid made with hypothetic particles such as fermionic spinons that carry spin 1/2 and no charge. Our calculations of its thermodynamic and relaxation properties are in good agreement with recent experimental facts and allow us to reveal their scaling behavior, which strongly resembles that observed in heavy-fermion metals. Analysis of the dynamic magnetic susceptibility of strongly correlated Fermi systems suggests that there exist at least two types of its scaling.