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Higgs transition in quantum spin ice

In the quantum spin ice state, exotic excitations such as emergent photons and coherently propagating magnetic monopoles can arise from the disordered yet strongly correlated spin systems where quantum fluctuation dominates. Using polarized neutron scattering techniques, we have discovered a first-order phase transition from magnetic Coulomb liquids to a ferromagnet in the quantum spin ice material Yb2Ti2O7, which can be regarded as a Bose-Einstein condensation of the fractionalized monopolar spinons. We have also carried out inelastic neutron scattering experiments to probe directly those exotic excitations.

Higgs transition

L.-J. Chang et al., “Higgs transition from magnetic Coulomb liquid to ferromagnet in Yb2Ti2O7”, Nature Communications 3, 992 (2012).