npj Computational Materials
Despite serious effort, the nature of the magnetic interactions and the role of electron-correlation effects in magnetic two-dimensional (2D) van der Waals materials remains elusive. Using CrI3 as a model system, we show that the calculated electronic structure including nonlocal electron correlations yields spin excitations consistent with inelastic neutron-scattering measurements. Remarkably, this approach identifies an unreported correlation-enhanced interlayer super-superexchange, which rotates the magnon Dirac lines off, and introduces a gap along the high-symmetry Γ-K-M path. This discovery provides a different perspective on the gap-opening mechanism observed in CrI3, which was previously associated with spin–orbit coupling through the Dzyaloshinskii–Moriya interaction or Kitaev interaction. Our observation elucidates the critical role of electron correlations on the spin ordering and spin dynamics in magnetic van der Waals materials and demonstrates the necessity of explicit treatment of electron correlations in the broad family of 2D magnetic materials.
Iowa State University Digital Repository, Ames IA (United States)