Observation of fractional edge excitations in nanographene spin chains


Fractionalization is a phenomenon in which strong interactions in a quantum system drive the emergence of excitations with quantum numbers that are absent in the building blocks. Outstanding examples are excitations with charge e/3 in the fractional quantum Hall effect, solitons in one-dimensional conducting polymers and Majorana states in topological superconductors. Fractionalization is also predicted to manifest itself in low-dimensional quantum magnets, such as one-dimensional antiferromagnetic S = 1 chains. The fundamental features of this system are gapped excitations in the bulk and, remarkably, S = 1/2 edge states at the chain termini, leading to a four-fold degenerate ground state that reflects the underlying symmetry-protected topological order. This record contains data to support the result in a recent publication of ours where we use on-surface synthesis to fabricate one-dimensional spin chains that contain the S = 1 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon triangulene as the building block. Using scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy at 4.5 K, we probe length-dependent magnetic excitations at the atomic scale in both open-ended and cyclic spin chains, and directly observe gapped spin excitations and fractional edge states therein. Exact diagonalization calculations provide conclusive evidence that the spin chains are described by the S = 1 bilinear-biquadratic Hamiltonian in the Haldane symmetry-protected topological phase. Our results open a bottom-up approach to study strongly correlated phases in purely organic materials, with the potential for the realization of measurement-based quantum computation.

DOI https://doi.org/10.24435/materialscloud:e8-aq
Source https://archive.materialscloud.org/record/2021.161
Metadata Access https://archive.materialscloud.org/xml?verb=GetRecord&metadataPrefix=oai_dc&identifier=oai:materialscloud.org:929
Creator Mishra, Shantanu; Catarina, Gonçalo; Wu, Fupeng; Ortiz, Ricardo; Jacob, David; Eimre, Kristjan; Ma, Ji; Pignedoli, Carlo A.; Feng, Xinliang; Ruffieux, Pascal; Fernández-Rossier, Joaquín; Fasel, Roman
Publisher Materials Cloud
Publication Year 2021
Rights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess; Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode
OpenAccess true
Contact archive(at)materialscloud.org
Language English
Resource Type Dataset
Discipline Materials Science and Engineering