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Keywords:

  • Quantum spin models;
  • classical spin models;
  • Heisenberg model;
  • single-ion anisotropy.

Abstract

The physical properties of quantum systems, which are described by the anisotropic Heisenberg model, are influenced by thermal as well as by quantum fluctuations. Such a quantum Heisenberg system can be profoundly changed towards a classical system by tuning two parameters, namely the total spin and the anisotropy field: Large easy-axis anisotropy fields, which drive the system towards the classical Ising model, as well as large spin quantum numbers suppress the quantum fluctuations and lead to a classical limit. We elucidate the incipience of this reduction of quantum fluctuations. In order to illustrate the resulting effects we determine the critical temperatures for ferro- and antiferromagnets and the ground state sublattice magnetization for antiferromagnets. The outcome depends on the dimension, the spin quantum number and the anisotropy field and is studied for a widespread range of these parameters. We compare the results obtained by: Classical Mean Field, Quantum Mean Field, Linear Spin Wave and Random Phase Approximation. Our findings are confirmed and quantitatively improved by numerical Quantum Monte Carlo simulations. The differences between the ferromagnet and antiferromagnet are investigated. We finally find a comprehensive picture of the classical trends and elucidate the suppression of quantum fluctuations in anisotropic spin systems. In particular, we find that the quantum fluctuations are extraordinarily sensitive to the presence of small anisotropy fields. This sensitivity can be quantified by introducing an “anisotropy susceptibility”.