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Cluster Frustration in the Breathing Pyrochlore Magnet LiGaCr4S8...

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Physical Review Letters
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We present a comprehensive neutron scattering study of the breathing pyrochlore magnet LiGaCr4S8. We observe an unconventional magnetic excitation spectrum with a separation of high- and low-energy spin dynamics in the correlated paramagnetic regime above a spin-freezing transition at 12(2) K. By fitting to magnetic diffuse-scattering data, we parametrize the spin Hamiltonian. We find that interactions are ferromagnetic within the large and small tetrahedra of the breathing pyrochlore lattice, but antiferromagnetic further-neighbor interactions are also essential to explain our data, in qualitative agreement with density-functional-theory predictions [Ghosh et al., npj Quantum Mater. 4, 63 (2019)]. We explain the origin of geometrical frustration in LiGaCr4S8 in terms of net antiferromagnetic coupling between emergent tetrahedral spin clusters that occupy a face-centered-cubic lattice. Our results provide insight into the emergence of frustration in the presence of strong further-neighbor couplings, and a blueprint for the determination of magnetic interactions in classical spin liquids.