One Proximate Kitaev Spin Liquid in the K-J-Γ Model on the Honeycomb Lattice

Spinon dispersion in the proximate Kitaev spin liquid, drawn with Γ/|K| = 0.3 and J = 0, showing 14 Majorana cones.

In addition to the Kitaev (K) interaction, candidate Kitaev materials also possess Heisenberg (J) and off- diagonal symmetric (Γ) couplings. We investigate the quantum (S=1/2) K-J-Γ model on the honeycomb lattice by a variational Monte Carlo method. In addition to the “generic” Kitaev spin liquid (KSL), we find that there is just one proximate KSL (PKSL) phase, while the rest of the phase diagram contains different magnetically ordered states. The PKSL is a gapless Z2 state with 14 Majorana cones, which in contrast to the KSL has a gapless spin response. In a magnetic field applied normal to the honeycomb plane, it realizes two of Kitaev’s gapped chiral spin-liquid phases, of which one is non-Abelian with Chern number ν=5 and the other is Abelian with ν=4. These two phases could be distinguished by their thermal Hall conductance.