Local Moment Instability of Os in Honeycomb Li2.15Os0.85O3
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-25028-0
Compounds with honeycomb structures occupied by strong spin orbit coupled (SOC) moments are considered to be candidate Kitaev quantum spin liquids. Here we present the first example of Os on a honeycomb structure, Li2.15(3)Os0.85(3)O3 (C2/c, a = 5.09 Å, b = 8.81 Å, c = 9.83 Å, β = 99.3°). Neutron diffraction shows large site disorder in the honeycomb layer and X-ray absorption spectroscopy indicates a valence state of Os (4.7 ± 0.2), consistent with the nominal concentration. We observe a transport band gap of Δ = 243 ± 23 meV, a large van Vleck susceptibility, and an effective moment of 0.85 μB, much lower than expected from 70% Os(+5). No evidence of long range order is found above 0.10 K but a spin glass-like peak in ac-susceptibility is observed at 0.5 K. The specific heat displays an impurity spin contribution in addition to a power law ∝T(0.63±0.06). Applied density functional theory (DFT) leads to a reduced moment, suggesting incipient itineracy of the valence electrons, and finding evidence that Li over stoichiometry leads to Os(4+)-Os(5+) mixed valence. This local picture is discussed in light of the site disorder and a possible underlying quantum spin liquid state.