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Field induced spontaneous quasiparticle decay and renormalization of quasiparticle dispersion in a quantum antiferromagnet


The notion of a quasiparticle, such as a phonon, a roton or a magnon, is used in modern condensed matter physics to describe an elementary collective excitation. The intrinsic zero-temperature magnon damping in quantum spin systems can be driven by the interaction of the one-magnon states and multi-magnon continuum. However, detailed experimental studies on this quantum many-body effect induced by an applied magnetic field are rare. Here we present a high-resolution neutron scattering study in high fields on an S=1/2 antiferromagnet C9H18N2CuBr4. Compared with the non-interacting linear spin-wave theory, our results demonstrate a variety of phenomena including field-induced renormalization of one-magnon dispersion, spontaneous magnon decay observed via intrinsic linewidth broadening, unusual non-Lorentzian two-peak structure in the excitation spectra and a dramatic shift of spectral weight from one-magnon state to the two-magnon continuum.

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