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Destruction of the Kondo effect in the cubic heavy-fermion compound Ce3Pd20Si6


How ground states of quantum matter transform between one another reveals deep insights into the mechanisms stabilizing them. Correspondingly, quantum phase transitions are explored in numerous materials classes, with heavy-fermion compounds being among the most prominent ones. Recent studies in an anisotropic heavy-fermion compound have shown that different types of transitions are induced by variations of chemical or external pressure1,2,3, raising the question of the extent to which heavy-fermion quantum criticality is universal. To make progress, it is essential to broaden both the materials basis and the microscopic parameter variety. Here, we identify a cubic heavy-fermion material as exhibiting a field-induced quantum phase transition, and show how the material can be used to explore one extreme of the dimensionality axis. The transition between two different ordered phases is accompanied by an abrupt change of Fermi surface, reminiscent of what happens across the field-induced antiferromagnetic to paramagnetic transition in the anisotropic YbRh2Si2. This finding leads to a materials-based global phase diagram—a precondition for a unified theoretical description.

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Figure 1: Characteristics of the heavy-fermion compound Ce3Pd20Si6.
Figure 2: Magnetotransport across the quantum critical point of Ce3Pd20Si6.
Figure 3: Characteristics of the Fermi-surface collapse in Ce3Pd20Si6.
Figure 4: Materials-based global phase diagram for heavy-fermion compounds near antiferromagnetic instabilities.


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The authors wish to thank S. Kirchner for useful discussions. The work was funded by the European Research Council under the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013)/ERC grant agreement no. 227378 and by the Austrian Science Foundation (project P19458-N16). A.M.S. thanks the SA-NRF (2072956) and the URC of the University of Johannesburg for financial assistance. R.Y. and Q.S. acknowledge the support of NSF Grant No. DMR-1006985 and the Robert A. Welch Foundation Grant No. C-1411.

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S.P. initiated the study. S.P. and Q.S. designed the research. A.M.S. and A.P. synthesized and characterized the material. J.C., K-A.L., M.M. and H.W. performed magnetotransport measurements, A.S. and Y.S. magnetization measurements. T.S. led the low-temperature magnetization investigation. K-A.L., H.W., A.S. and S.P. analysed the data. R.Y. and Q.S. set up the theoretical framework and performed the calculations. S.P., Q.S. and R.Y. prepared the manuscript. All authors contributed to the discussion.

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Correspondence to S. Paschen.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Custers, J., Lorenzer, KA., Müller, M. et al. Destruction of the Kondo effect in the cubic heavy-fermion compound Ce3Pd20Si6. Nature Mater 11, 189–194 (2012).

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