Experimental observation of Bethe strings. Academic Article uri icon


  • Almost a century ago, string states-complex bound states of magnetic excitations-were predicted to exist in one-dimensional quantum magnets. However, despite many theoretical studies, the experimental realization and identification of string states in a condensed-matter system have yet to be achieved. Here we use high-resolution terahertz spectroscopy to resolve string states in the antiferromagnetic Heisenberg-Ising chain SrCo2V2O8 in strong longitudinal magnetic fields. In the field-induced quantum-critical regime, we identify strings and fractional magnetic excitations that are accurately described by the Bethe ansatz. Close to quantum criticality, the string excitations govern the quantum spin dynamics, whereas the fractional excitations, which are dominant at low energies, reflect the antiferromagnetic quantum fluctuations. Today, Bethe's result is important not only in the field of quantum magnetism but also more broadly, including in the study of cold atoms and in string theory; hence, we anticipate that our work will shed light on the study of complex many-body systems in general.

published proceedings

  • Nature

altmetric score

  • 50.33

author list (cited authors)

  • Wang, Z., Wu, J., Yang, W., Bera, A. K., Kamenskyi, D., Islam, A., ... Loidl, A.

citation count

  • 65

complete list of authors

  • Wang, Zhe||Wu, Jianda||Yang, Wang||Bera, Anup Kumar||Kamenskyi, Dmytro||Islam, ATM Nazmul||Xu, Shenglong||Law, Joseph Matthew||Lake, Bella||Wu, Congjun||Loidl, Alois

publication date

  • February 2018

published in