Disorder effects in spiral spin liquids: Long-range spin textures, Friedel-like oscillations, and spiral spin glasses

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Spiral spin liquids are correlated states of matter in which a frustrated magnetic system evades order by fluctuating between a set of (nearly) degenerate spin spirals. Here, we investigate the response of spiral spin liquids to quenched disorder in a J1-J2 honeycomb-lattice Heisenberg model. At the single-impurity level, we identify different order-by-quenched-disorder mechanisms and analyze the ensuing spin textures. In particular, we show that the latter generally display Friedel-like oscillations, which encode direct information about the spiral contour, i.e., the classical ground-state manifold. At finite defect concentrations, we perform extensive numerical simulations and characterize the resulting phases at zero temperature. As a result, we find that the competition between incompatible order-by-quenched-disorder mechanisms can lead to spiral spin glass states already at low to moderate disorder. Finally, we discuss extensions of our conclusions to nonzero temperatures and higher-dimensional systems, as well as their applications to experiments.


Original languageEnglish
Article number064423
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2024