Quantum-critical phase from frustrated magnetism in a strongly correlated metal

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Strange-metal phenomena often develop at the border of antiferromagnetic order in strongly correlated metals1. Previous work established that they can originate from the fluctuations anchored by the quantum-critical point associated with a continuous quantum phase transition out of the antiferromagnetic order2,3,4. What is still unclear is how these phenomena can be associated with a potential new phase of matter at zero temperature. Here, we show that magnetic frustration of the 4f local moments in the distorted kagome intermetallic compound cerium palladium aluminium gives rise to such a paramagnetic quantum-critical phase. Our discovery motivates a design principle for strongly correlated metallic states with unconventional excitations.

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Fig. 1: Results at zero field illustrating the emerging quantum-critical phase.
Fig. 2: Pressure dependence of ρ(T, B = 0) as a measure of the quantum-critical strength within the quantum-critical phase.
Fig. 3: NFL behaviour studied at combined control parameters of magnetic field and hydrostatic pressure.
Fig. 4: Experimental pB and schematic global GJK/I phase diagrams at zero temperature.

Data availability

The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author P.S. upon reasonable request.


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This work was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (grant nos 2017YFA0303100, 2015CB921303 and 2018YFA0305702), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant nos 11774404, 11474332, 11574377 and 11874400), the Chinese Academy of Sciences (grant nos XDB07020200, XDB25000000 and QYZDB-SSW-SLH013) and a fund from the Science and Technology on Surface Physics and Chemistry Laboratory (no. 01040117). Work at Augsburg was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) under the auspices of TRR 80 (no. 107745057), while work at Dresden was partly supported by the DFG Research Unit 960. The work at Rice University was supported in part by the NSF grant DMR-1920740 and the Robert A. Welch Foundation grant C-1411. Q.S. acknowledges the hospitality and support by a Ulam Scholarship from the Center for Nonlinear Studies at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the hospitality of the Aspen Center for Physics (NSF, PHY-1607611).

Author information

P.S. and F.S. initiated the project; H.Z., J.Z., M.L. and P.S. performed the transport and susceptibility measurements under pressure; S.B., Y.T., P.G., S.Z. and G.C. performed the heat capacity measurements; J.C. calibrated the pressure cell and performed preliminary transport measurements under pressure; Y.I. prepared and oriented the single crystals; H.Z., J.Z., Y.Y., Q.S., F.S. and P.S. discussed the results and analysed the data; P.S., F.S. and Q.S. wrote the manuscript; all authors revised and approved the manuscript.

Correspondence to Qimiao Si or Frank Steglich or Peijie Sun.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Peer review information Nature Physics thanks Kazushi Kanoda, Gregory Stewart and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary Figs. 1–9.

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