Valence Bond Solid Order Near Impurities in Two-Dimensional Quantum Antiferromagnets
Metlitski, Max A.
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CitationMetlitski, Max and Subir Sachdev. 2008. Valence bond solid order near impurities in two-dimensional quantum antiferromagnets. Physical Review B 77(5): 054411.
AbstractRecent scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) experiments on underdoped cuprates have displayed modulations in the local electronic density of states, which are centered on a Cu-O-Cu bond [Kohsaka et al. Science 315 1380 (2007)]. As a paradigm of the pinning of such bond-centered ordering in strongly correlated systems, we present the theory of valence bond solid (VBS) correlations near a single impurity in a square lattice antiferromagnet. The antiferromagnet is assumed to be in the vicinity of a quantum transition from a magnetically ordered Néel state to a spin-gap state with long-range VBS order. We identify two distinct classes of impurities: (i) local modulation in the exchange constants and (ii) a missing or additional spin, for which the impurity perturbation is represented by an uncompensated Berry phase. The “boundary” critical theory for these classes is developed. In the second class, we find a VBS pinwheel around the impurity, accompanied by a suppression in the VBS susceptibility. Implications for numerical studies of quantum antiferromagnets and for STM experiments on the cuprates are noted.
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