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Local Moment Instability of Os in Honeycomb Li2.15Os0.85O3


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.

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