Volume 4 Issue 3, March 2008

Volume 4 Issue 3

Phase transitions are familiar occurrences — for example, the freezing of water to ice. When the transition occurs at absolute zero, it is known as a 'quantum phase transition'. As distinct states of matter coexist at a transition, there are quantum fluctuations between them. This Focus explores the resulting — and often surprising — collective behaviour. [Focus p167-204] Cover design by David Shand

Editorial

  • Editorial |

    In this month's issue, we present our first 'Focus' — a collection of specially commissioned review and opinion pieces — on the topic of quantum phase transitions.

Thesis

Research Highlights

News and Views

Perspectives

  • Perspective |

    Sophocles had it right, the Rolling Stones made a friendly amendment and Linus Pauling detailed the conceptual mechanism for finding novel materials that will define and revolutionize the future.

    • Paul C. Canfield
  • Perspective |

    Numerous experiments on cuprate materials suggest that a zero-temperature phase transition is hidden beneath the superconducting dome. Is it the key to understanding high-temperature superconductivity, and can it explain the anomalous normal state properties?

    • D. M. Broun

Reviews

  • Review Article |

    Quantum magnetism describes systems of magnetic spins in which quantum mechanical effects dominate, often in surprising ways. This review article covers phase transitions between these states, including quantum criticality and entangled electron states.

    • Subir Sachdev
  • Review Article |

    At a zero-temperature phase transition from one ordered state to another, fluctuations between the two states lead to quantum critical behaviour that can lead to unexpected physics. Metals with ‘heavy’ electrons often harbour such weird states.

    • Philipp Gegenwart
    • , Qimiao Si
    •  & Frank Steglich
  • Review Article |

    A collection of bosonic particles, such as liquid helium or ultracold gases, can condense into a ground state in which the atoms flow as a ‘superfluid’ without scattering. Magnetic materials further illustrate the generality of the effect, as described in this review.

    • Thierry Giamarchi
    • , Christian Rüegg
    •  & Oleg Tchernyshyov

Letters

Articles

Futures

  • Futures |

    How to look good on a budget.

    • John Frizell

Focus

  • Focus |

    Quantum phase transitions

    Phase transitions are familiar occurrences, such as the freezing of water to ice. When the transition occurs at zero temperature, it is known as a 'quantum phase transition'. As distinct states of matter coexist at a transition, there are quantum fluctuations between them. This Focus explores the resulting – and often surprising – collective behaviour.