Publication Type:Journal Article
Source:Nature Physics, Volume 15, p.1058-1064 (2019)
Antiferromagnetically coupled S=1/2 spins on an isotropic triangular lattice are the paradigm of frustrated quantum magnetism, but structurally ideal realizations are rare. Here, we investigate NaYbO2, which hosts an ideal triangular lattice of effective J=1/2 moments with no inherent site disorder. No signatures of conventional magnetic order appear down to 50 mK, strongly suggesting a quantum spin liquid ground state. We observe a two-peak specific heat and a nearly quadratic temperature dependence, in agreement with expectations for a two-dimensional Dirac spin liquid. Application of a magnetic field strongly perturbs the quantum disordered ground state and induces a clear transition into a collinear ordered state, consistent with a long-predicted up-up-down structure for a triangular-lattice XXZ Hamiltonian driven by quantum fluctuations. The observation of spin liquid signatures in zero field and quantum-induced ordering in intermediate fields in the same compound demonstrates an intrinsically quantum disordered ground state. We conclude that NaYbO2 is a model, versatile platform for exploring spin liquid physics with full tunability of field and temperature.