When an electronic system has strong correlations and a large spin-orbit interaction, it often exhibits a plethora of mutually competing quantum phases. How a particular quantum ground state is selected out of several possibilities is a very interesting question. However, equally fascinating is how such a quantum entangled state breaks up due to perturbation. This important question has relevance in very diverse fields of science from strongly correlated electron physics to quantum information. Here we report that a quantum entangled dimerized state or valence bond crystal (VBC) phase of Li2RuO3 shows nontrivial doping dependence as we perturb the Ru honeycomb lattice by replacing Ru with Li. Through extensive experimental studies, we demonstrate that the VBC phase melts into a valence bond liquid phase of the RVB (resonating valence bond) type. This system offers an interesting playground where one can test and refine our current understanding of the quantum competing phases in a single compound.
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