Figure 1. Qualitative illustration of spinons in a spin-1/2 chain. ( a ) Shows a spin-flip excitation in an otherwise ordered segment of a spin chain. In the subsequent two frames the spin-flip is spatially separated into domain wall boundaries illustrating spinons that each carry half a spin flip. Separation of the walls costs no energy. ( d ) shows the situation when a staggered field ( small black arrows ) breaks the symmetry between even and odd sites of the lattice. Spinons now attract each other ( separation costs energy ) and can be expected to form bound states. Note that in a real spin-1/2 chain spinons are dynamic quantum degrees of freedom with a finite spatial extent.

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