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Locally critical quantum phase transitions in strongly correlated metals

Nature volume 413, pages 804808 (25 October 2001) | Download Citation

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Abstract

When a metal undergoes a continuous quantum phase transition, non-Fermi-liquid behaviour arises near the critical point. All the low-energy degrees of freedom induced by quantum criticality are usually assumed to be spatially extended, corresponding to long-wavelength fluctuations of the order parameter. But this picture has been contradicted by the results of recent experiments on a prototype system: heavy fermion metals at a zero-temperature magnetic transition. In particular, neutron scattering from CeCu6-x Aux has revealed anomalous dynamics at atomic length scales, leading to much debate as to the fate of the local moments in the quantum-critical regime. Here we report our theoretical finding of a locally critical quantum phase transition in a model of heavy fermions. The dynamics at the critical point are in agreement with experiment. We propose local criticality to be a phenomenon of general relevance to strongly correlated metals.

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Acknowledgements

We thank G. Aeppli, A. Chubukov, P. Coleman, A. J. Millis, A. Schröder, A. M. Sengupta, C. M. Varma and P. Wölfle for discussions. This work was supported by the NSF, TCSUH and the A. P. Sloan Foundation.

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  1. *Department of Physics & Astronomy, Rice University, Houston, Texas 77251-1892, USA

    • Qimiao Si
    • , Silvio Rabello
    •  & J. Lleweilun Smith
  2. †Department of Physics, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611-8440, USA

    • Kevin Ingersent

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Correspondence to Qimiao Si.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/35101507

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