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Quantum phase transition in a common metal

Yeh, A. and Soh, Yeong-Ah and Brooke, J. and Aeppli, G. and Rosenbaum, T. F. and Hayden, S. M. (2002) Quantum phase transition in a common metal. Nature, 419 (6906). pp. 459-462. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/nature01044.

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The classical theory of solids, based on the quantum mechanics of single electrons moving in periodic potentials, provides an excellent description of substances ranging from semiconducting silicon to superconducting aluminium. Over the last fifteen years, it has become increasingly clear that there are substances for which the conventional approach fails. Among these are certain rare earth compounds and transition metal oxides, including high-temperature superconductors. A common feature of these materials is complexity, in the sense that they have relatively large unit cells containing heterogeneous mixtures of atoms. Although many explanations have been put forward for their anomalous properties, it is still possible that the classical theory might suffice. Here we show that a very common chromium alloy has some of the same peculiarities as the more exotic materials, including a quantum critical point, a strongly temperature-dependent Hall resistance and evidence for a 'pseudogap'. This implies that complexity is not a prerequisite for unconventional behaviour. Moreover, it should simplify the general task of explaining anomalous properties because chromium is a relatively simple system in which to work out in quantitative detail the consequences of the conventional theory of solids.

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Additional Information:© 2002 Nature Publishing Group. Received 17 July; accepted 5 August 2002. We are grateful to P. Coleman and Q. Si for discussions. The work at the University of Chicago was supported by the National Science Foundation. The authors declare that they have no competing financial interests.
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Issue or Number:6906
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140707-163029935
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:46961
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:14 Jul 2014 15:59
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 17:32

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