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Continuous Spin Excitations in the Three-Dimensional Frustrated Magnet K2Ni2(SO4)3

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Physical Review Letters
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Continuous spin excitations are widely recognized as one of the hallmarks of novel spin states in quantum magnets, such as quantum spin liquids (QSLs). Here, we report the observation of such kind of excitations in K2Ni2(SO4)3, which consists of two sets of intersected spin-1 (Ni2+) trillium lattices. Our inelastic neutron scattering measurement on single crystals clearly shows a dominant excitation continuum, which exhibits a distinct temperature-dependent behavior from that of spin waves, and is rooted in strong quantum spin fluctuations. Further using the self-consistent-Gaussian-approximation method, we determine that the fourth- and fifth-nearest-neighbor exchange interactions are dominant. These two bonds together form a unique three-dimensional network of corner-sharing tetrahedra, which we name as a “hypertrillium” lattice. Our results provide direct evidence for the existence of QSL features in K2Ni2(SO4)3 and highlight the potential for the hypertrillium lattice to host frustrated quantum magnetism.