Dominance of the excitation continuum in the longitudinal spectrum of weakly coupled Heisenberg S=1/2 chains

Phys Rev Lett. 2002 Nov 4;89(19):197205. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.89.197205. Epub 2002 Oct 22.


A low-field spin-flop transition in the quasi-one-dimensional antiferromagnet BaCu2Si2O7 is exploited to study the polarization dependence of low-energy magnetic excitations. The measured longitudinal spectrum is best described as a single broad continuum, with no sharp "longitudinal mode," in apparent contradiction with the commonly used chain-mean-field and random phase approximation (MF/RPA) theories. The observed behavior is also quite different than that previously seen in the related KCuF3 material, presumably due to a large difference in the relative strength of interchain interactions. The results highlight the limitations of the chain-MF/RPA approach.