Evidence of frustrated magnetic interactions in a Wignerâ€“Mott insulator
Electrons in two-dimensional semiconductor moirÃ© materials are more delocalized around the lattice sites than those in conventional solids1,2. The non-local contributions to the magnetic interactions can therefore be as important as the Anderson superexchange3, which makes the materials a unique platform to study the effects of competing magnetic interactions3,4. Here we report evidence of strongly frustrated magnetic interactions in a Wignerâ€“Mott insulator at a two-thirds (2/3) filling of the moirÃ© lattice in angle-aligned WSe2/WS2 bilayers. Magneto-optical measurements show that the net exchange interaction is antiferromagnetic for filling factors below 1 with a strong suppression at a 2/3 filling. The suppression is lifted on screening of the long-range Coulomb interactions and melting of the Wignerâ€“Mott insulators by a nearby metallic gate. The results can be qualitatively captured by a honeycomb-lattice spin model with an antiferromagnetic nearest-neighbour coupling and a ferromagnetic second-neighbour coupling. Our study establishes semiconductor moirÃ© materials as a model system for lattice-spin physics and frustrated magnetism5. Â© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.