Only a few metallic phases have been identified in pure crystalline materials. These include normal, ferromagnetic and antiferromagnetic metals, systems with spin and charge density wave order, and superconductors. Fermi-liquid theory provides a basis for the description of all of these phases. It has been suggested that non-Fermi-liquid phases of metals may exist in some heavy-fermion compounds1,2 and oxide materials3,4,5,6, but the discovery of a characteristic microscopic signature of such phases presents a major challenge. The transition-metal compound MnSi above a certain pressure (pc = 14.6 kbar) provides what may be the cleanest example of an extended non-Fermi-liquid phase in a three-dimensional metal7,8,9. The bulk properties of MnSi suggest that long-range magnetic order is suppressed at pc (refs 7–12). Here we report neutron diffraction measurements of MnSi, revealing that sizeable quasi-static magnetic moments survive far into the non-Fermi-liquid phase. These moments are organized in an unusual pattern with partial long-range order. Our observation supports the existence of novel metallic phases with partial ordering of the conduction electrons (reminiscent of liquid crystals), as proposed for the high-temperature superconductors4,5,6 and heavy-fermion compounds13.
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We acknowledge discussions with P. Böni, A. N. Bogdanov, E. Dormann, B. Fåk, P. C. Howell, B. Keimer, B. Lebech, G. G. Lonzarich, I. Mazin, A. J. Millis, K.-H. Müller, J. Mydosh, J. Kübler, B. Rössli, S. Sachdev, S. S. Saxena, J. Schmalian, Q. Si, M. Turlakov, U. Rössler, M. Vojta, P. Wölfle and J. Zaanen. Help with the experiments from M. Uhlarz, B. Hennion, J. Haug, E. Garcia-Matres and the staff of the Laboratoire Léon Brillouin (Saclay) and the Hahn-Meitner Institut (Berlin), respectively, is also acknowledged. This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the Helmholtz Gemeinschaft and the European Science Foundation under FERLIN.
The authors declare that they have no competing financial interests.
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Pfleiderer, C., Reznik, D., Pintschovius, L. et al. Partial order in the non-Fermi-liquid phase of MnSi. Nature 427, 227–231 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature02232
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