Spin–orbital liquid state and liquid–gas metamagnetic transition on a pyrochlore lattice

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Nan Tang - , The University of Tokyo (Author)
  • Yulia Gritsenko - , Chair of Physics of High Magnetic Fields, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (Author)
  • Kenta Kimura - , The University of Tokyo (Author)
  • Subhro Bhattacharjee - , Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (Author)
  • Akito Sakai - , The University of Tokyo (Author)
  • Mingxuan Fu - , The University of Tokyo (Author)
  • Hikaru Takeda - , The University of Tokyo (Author)
  • Huiyuan Man - , The University of Tokyo, Johns Hopkins University (Author)
  • Kento Sugawara - , Nagoya University, National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology (Author)
  • Yosuke Matsumoto - , The University of Tokyo, Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research (Author)
  • Yasuyuki Shimura - , The University of Tokyo, Hiroshima University (Author)
  • Jiajia Wen - , Johns Hopkins University, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) (Author)
  • Collin Broholm - , Johns Hopkins University (Author)
  • Hiroshi Sawa - , Nagoya University (Author)
  • Masashi Takigawa - , The University of Tokyo, Toyota Physical and Chemical Research Institute, High Energy Accelerator Research Organization, Tsukuba (Author)
  • Toshiro Sakakibara - , The University of Tokyo (Author)
  • Sergei Zherlitsyn - , Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (Author)
  • Joachim Wosnitza - , Clusters of Excellence ct.qmat: Complexity and Topology in Quantum Matter, Chair of Physics of High Magnetic Fields, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (Author)
  • Roderich Moessner - , Max-Planck-Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems (Author)
  • Satoru Nakatsuji - , The University of Tokyo, Johns Hopkins University, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (Author)


Crystal structures with degenerate electronic orbitals are unstable towards lattice distortions that lift the degeneracy. Although these Jahn–Teller distortions have profound effects on magnetism, they are typically unaffected by the onset of magnetic ordering because of a separation in energy scales. Here we show the contrary case in Pr2Zr2O7, where orbital degeneracy remains down to the millikelvin range due to an interplay between spins and orbitals. Pr2Zr2O7 is a multipolar spin ice with strongly localized 4f electrons in an even-number configuration, giving rise to a non-Kramers doublet that carries transverse quadrupolar and longitudinal dipolar moments. Our study of ultrapure single crystals of Pr2Zr2O7 finds comprehensive evidence for enhanced spin–orbital quantum dynamics of the non-Kramers doublet. This dynamical Jahn–Teller effect is encapsulated by the liquid–gas metamagnetic transition that is characteristic of spin ice being accompanied by strong lattice softening. This behaviour suggests that a spin–orbital liquid state forms on the pyrochlore lattice at low temperatures and low magnetic fields.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-98
Number of pages7
JournalNature physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


ASJC Scopus subject areas