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Geometrical frustration versus Kitaev interactions in BaCo2(AsO4)2

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Journal Name
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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Recently, Co-based honeycomb magnets have been proposed as promising candidate materials to host the Kitaev spin liquid (KSL) state. One of the front-runners is BaCo2(AsO4)2 (BCAO), where it was suggested that the exchange processes between Co2+ ions via the surrounding edge-sharing oxygen octahedra could give rise to bond-dependent Kitaev interactions. In this work, we present and analyze a comprehensive inelastic neutron scattering (INS) study of BCAO with fields in the honeycomb plane. Combining the constraints from the magnon excitations in the high-field polarized state and the inelastic spin structure factor measured in zero magnetic field, we examine two leading theoretical models: the Kitaev-type JKΓΓ′ model and the XXZ-J1-J3model. We show that the existing experimental data can be consistently accounted for by the XXZ-J1-J3model but not by the JKΓΓ′ model, and we discuss the implications of these results for the realization of a spin liquid phase in BCAO and more generally for the realization of the Kitaev model in cobaltates.