Measuring the excitations in a new S = 1/2 quantum spin chain material with competing interactions
Recently a new one-dimensional (1D) quantum spin chain system has been reported: catena-dichloro(2-Cl-3Mpy)copper(II), (where 2-Cl-3Mpy=2-chloro-3-methylpyridine). Preliminary calculations and bulk magnetic property measurements indicate that this system does not undergo magnetic ordering down to 1.8 K and is a prime candidate for investigating frustration in a J 1/J 2 system (where the nearest neighbour interactions, J 1, are ferromagnetic and the next nearest neighbour interactions, J 2, are antiferromagnetic). Calculations predicted three possible magnetic interaction strengths for J 1 below 6 meV depending on the orientation of the ligand. For one of the predicted J 1 values, the existence of a quantum critical point is implied.
A deuterated sample of catena-dichloro(2-Cl-3Mpy)copper(II) was synthesised and the excitations measured using inelastic neutron scattering. Scattering indicated the most likely scenario involves spin-chains where each chain consists of only one of the three possible magnetic excitations in this material, rather than the completely random array of exchange interactions within each chain as predicted by Herringer et al (2014 Chem. Eur. J. 20 8355–62). This indicates the possibility of tuning the chemical structure to favour a system which may exhibit a quantum critical point.