Spin-ice physics in cadmium cyanide

Chloe S. Coates, Mia Baise, Adrian Schmutzler, Arkadiy Simonov, Joshua W. Makepeace, Andrew G. Seel, Ronald I. Smith, Helen Y. Playford, David A. Keen, Renée Siegel, Jürgen Senker, Ben Slater, Andrew L. Goodwin

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Spin-ices are frustrated magnets that support a particularly rich variety of emergent physics. Typically, it is the interplay of magnetic dipole interactions, spin anisotropy, and geometric frustration on the pyrochlore lattice that drives spin-ice formation. The relevant physics occurs at temperatures commensurate with the magnetic interaction strength, which for most systems is 1–5 K. Here, we show that non-magnetic cadmium cyanide, Cd(CN)2, exhibits analogous behaviour to magnetic spin-ices, but does so on a temperature scale that is nearly two orders of magnitude greater. The electric dipole moments of cyanide ions in Cd (CN)2 assume the role of magnetic pseudospins, with the difference in energy scale reflecting the increased strength of electric vs magnetic dipolar interactions. As a result, spin-ice physics influences the structural behaviour of Cd(CN)2 even at room temperature.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2272
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge funding from the E.P.S.R.C. (Grants EP/G004528/2, EP/L000202, EP/R029431), the E.R.C. (Grant 788144), the German Science Foundation (Grant SFB840 C1), the Leverhulme Trust (Grant RPG-2015-292), the Swiss National Science Foundation (Fellowships to A.S., nos. P2EZP2_155608 and PZ00P2_180035) and St John’s College, Oxford (Fellowship to J.W.M.). Calculations were performed on ARCHER, the UK National Supercomputing Service (http://www.archer.ac.uk) using time allocated by the Materials Chemistry Consortium. Single-crystal X-ray diffuse scattering measurements were performed on beamline BM01 at the ESRF, Grenoble, France. We are grateful to Dmitry Chernyshov (ESRF) and Hanna Boström (Stuttgart) for their assistance in using the beamline. We gratefully acknowledge useful discussions with Lucy Clark (Birmingham) and Joseph Paddison (Oak Ridge National Laboratory).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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