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Quantum spin liquids

Lancaster, Tom

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A glance at recent research on magnetism turns up a curious set of articles discussing, or claiming evidence for, a state of matter called a quantum spin liquid (QSL). These articles are notable in their invocation of exotic notions of topological physics, quantum entanglement, fractional quantum numbers, anyon statistics and gauge field theories. So what is a QSL and why do we need this complicated technical vocabulary to describe it? Our aim in this article is to introduce some of these concepts and provide a discussion of what a QSL is, where it might occur in Nature and why it is of interest. As we'll see, this is a rich subject which is still in development, and unambiguous evidence for the realisation of the QSL state in a magnetic material remains hotly debated. However, the payoff in terms of the special nature of quantum entanglement in the QSL, and its diverse spectrum of unusual excitations and topological status will (at least to some extent) justify the need to engage with some powerful, occasionally abstract, technical material.


Lancaster, T. (2023). Quantum spin liquids. Contemporary Physics,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 9, 2023
Online Publication Date Dec 5, 2023
Publication Date Dec 5, 2023
Deposit Date Dec 18, 2023
Publicly Available Date Dec 19, 2023
Journal Contemporary Physics
Print ISSN 0010-7514
Electronic ISSN 1366-5812
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Public URL


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