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Research Highlight | Materials Science Division

A nematic spin liquid phase with incipient ferroelectricity in herbertsmithite

In a study published in Physical Review Research 2, researchers used theoretical tools to analyze the crystal distortions in copper materials that produce unique electronic properties.

Scientific Achievement

Motivated by second harmonic generation data, we have studied possible crystal distortions in herbertsmithite and related copper materials.

Significance and Impact

The resulting valence bond patterns define a nematic spin liquid that breaks inversion. The space groups can also exhibit ferroelectricity.

Research Details

  • We used group theoretical tools (AMPLIMODES and ISODISTORT) to analyze possible crystal distortions consistent with the second harmonic data.
  • We catalogued valence bond arrangements for a variety of copper kagome materials that exhibit dimer, zig-zag, pinwheel, herringbone and stripe patterns.

DOI10.1103/PhysRevResearch.2.013055

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