Georgetown physicists discover highly sought for quantum liquid

For nearly 70 years, physicists have speculated whether quantum fluctuations in two- or three-dimensional spin or boson systems can destabilize ordered phases. The resulting phase would then be a "quantum liquid". As emphasized in a Viewpoint by the journal Physics, postdoctoral fellow Christopher Varney and Prof. Marcos Rigol were part of a team that presented the first convincing example of a gapless quantum spin liquid in a realistic model in two dimensions.

The team, which also includes JQI physicists Kai Sun and Victor Galitski, performed numerical simulations to probe the phase diagram of the frustrated spin-1/2 XY model on a honeycomb lattice, finding a myriad of phases. Amongst these include a type of gapless quantum spin liquid known as a Bose metal. The article is published online in Physical Review Letters as an editor's suggestion.