Realizing quantum spin liquid phases in spin-orbit driven correlated materials
The spin liquid phase is one of the prominent strongly interacting topological phases of matter whose unambiguous confirmation is yet to be reached despite intensive experimental efforts on numerous candidate materials. The challenge is derived from the difficulty of formulating realistic theoretical models for these materials and interpreting the corresponding experimental data. Here we study a theoretical model with bond-dependent interactions, directly motivated by recent experiments on two-dimensional correlated materials with strong spin-orbit coupling. We show numerical evidence for the existence of an extended family of quantum spin liquids, which are possibly connected to the Kitaev spin liquid state. These results are used to provide an explanation of the scattering continuum seen in neutron scattering on α-RuCl.