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Spin–orbit exciton–induced phonon chirality in a quantum magnet

  • Phonons are important collective excitations in materials. Typically, they do not respond to magnetic field and do not carry a magnetic moment (chirality).
  • Phonon chirality can be induced via two mechanisms (i) adiabatic evolution with electronic states that break time-reversal symmetry (e.g. magnetism) and (ii) phonon induced mixing of different electronic energy levels.
  • A quantum magnet CoTiO3 hosts interesting bosonic excitations such as topological magnons and spin–orbit excitons
  • The interaction between spin–orbit excitons and phonons endows chirality to two  phonon modes and leads to large phonon magnetic moments observed in magneto-Raman spectra