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Anisotropic magnon damping by zero-temperature quantum fluctuations in ferromagnetic CrGeTe3...

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Nature Communications
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Spin and lattice are two fundamental degrees of freedom in a solid, and their fluctuations about the equilibrium values in a magnetic ordered crystalline lattice form quasiparticles termed magnons (spin waves) and phonons (lattice waves), respectively. In most materials with strong spin-lattice coupling (SLC), the interaction of spin and lattice induces energy gaps in the spin wave dispersion at the nominal intersections of magnon and phonon modes. Here we use neutron scattering to show that in the two-dimensional (2D) van der Waals honeycomb lattice ferromagnetic CrGeTe3, spin waves propagating within the 2D plane exhibit an anomalous dispersion, damping, and breakdown of quasiparticle conservation, while magnons along the c axis behave as expected for a local moment ferromagnet. These results indicate the presence of dynamical SLC arising from the zero-temperature quantum fluctuations in CrGeTe3, suggesting that the observed in-plane spin waves are mixed spin and lattice quasiparticles fundamentally different from pure magnons and phonons.