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Resonant x-ray scattering reveals possible disappearance of magnetic order under hydrostatic pressure in the Kitaev candidate γ-Li2IrO3


Honeycomb iridates such as γ-Li2IrO3 are argued to realize Kitaev spin-anisotropic magnetic exchange, along with Heisenberg and possibly other couplings. While systems with pure Kitaev interactions are candidates to realize a quantum spin-liquid ground state, in γ-Li2IrO3 it has been shown that the presence of competing magnetic interactions leads to an incommensurate spiral spin order at ambient pressure below 38 K. We study the pressure sensitivity of this magnetically ordered state in single crystals of γ-Li2IrO3 using resonant x-ray scattering (RXS) under applied hydrostatic pressures of up to 3 GPa. RXS is a direct probe of electronic order, and we observe the abrupt disappearance of the qsp=(0.57,0,0) spiral order at a critical pressure Pc=1.4 GPa with no accompanying change in the symmetry of the lattice.

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