Orbital magnetic field effects in Mott insulators with strong spin-orbit coupling

Willian M.H. Natori, Roderich Moessner, Johannes Knolle

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7 Scopus citations


We study the effect of a magnetic field on the low-energy description of Mott insulators with strong spin-orbit (SO) coupling. In contrast to the standard case of the Hubbard model without SO coupling, we show that Peierls phases can modulate the magnetic exchange at leading order in the interaction. Our mechanism crucially depends on the existence of distinct exchange paths between neighboring magnetic ions enclosing a well-defined area. Thus it will generically be present in any solid state realization of the Kitaev model and its extensions. We explicitly calculate the variation of the exchange constants of the so-called JKΓ model as a function of the magnetic flux. We discuss experimental implications of our findings for various settings of candidate Kitaev spin liquids.

Original languageEnglish
Article number144403
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number14
StatePublished - 2 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


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