(Phys.org) Scientists working at the Florida State University-headquartered National High Magnetic Field Laboratory using a novel technique have found evidence for a quantum spin liquid, a state of matter that is promising as a building block for the quantum computers of tomorrow.
Researchers discovered the behavior while studying the so-called electron spins in the compound ruthenium trichloride. Their findings show that electron spins interact across the material, effectively lowering the overall energy. This type of behavior—consistent with a quantum spin liquid—was detected in ruthenium trichloride at high temperatures and in high magnetic fields.
Their technique involved mounting ruthenium trichloride samples onto a cantilever the size of a strand of hair. They repurposed a quartz tuning fork—similar to that in a quartz crystal watch—to vibrate the cantilever in a magnetic field. Instead of using it to tell time precisely, they measured the frequency of vibration to study the interaction between the spins in ruthenium trichloride and the applied magnetic field. They performed their measurements in two powerful magnets at the National MagLab.