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Van Hove singularity in the magnon spectrum of the antiferromagnetic quantum honeycomb lattice...

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Nature Communications
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In quantum magnets, magnetic moments fluctuate heavily and are strongly entangled with each other, a fundamental distinction from classical magnetism. Here, with inelastic neutron scattering measurements, we probe the spin correlations of the honeycomb lattice quantum magnet YbCl3. A linear spin wave theory with a single Heisenberg interaction on the honeycomb lattice, including both transverse and longitudinal channels of the neutron response, reproduces all of the key features in the spectrum. In particular, we identify a Van Hove singularity, a clearly observable sharp feature within a continuum response. The demonstration of such a Van Hove singularity in a two-magnon continuum is important as a confirmation of broadly held notions of continua in quantum magnetism and additionally because analogous features in two-spinon continua could be used to distinguish quantum spin liquids from merely disordered systems. These results establish YbCl3 as a benchmark material for quantum magnetism on the honeycomb lattice.