The team of researchers, led by Yi-feng Yang, a postdoctoral fellow at UC Davis, found a simple way to calculate the temperature at which a new state of matter, the Kondo liquid, emerges in the class of metal alloys called heavy-electron materials. At very low temperatures, these alloys can become superconductors that conduct electricity without resistance.
"We've found a framing concept for an important class of materials, which allows us to begin to understand how they relate to each other and perhaps to find new members of the group," said Yang's postdoctoral mentor and team member, David Pines, distinguished professor of physics at UC Davis and co-director of ICAM, the Institute for Complex Adaptive Matter.
Heavy electron materials are alloys of metals such as cerium, ytterbium and uranium. They contain both free-moving electrons that make them electrical conductors and a "Kondo" lattice of localized electrons. When the temperature of the material is lowered below a characteristic temperature, the localized electrons lose their magnetism as they become collectively "entangled" through quantum mechanical effects with the conduction electrons, which become heavy and form the Kondo liquid. At much lower temperatures these heavy electrons then become either magnetic or superconducting.
Yang received a fellowship from ICAM that enabled him to become "embedded" in an experimental group on heavy electron materials led by Joe D. Thompson at Los Alamos. With Thompson and Han-oh Lee at Los Alamos, and Zachary Fisk at UC Irvine, he reviewed 30 years of existing data on heavy-electron materials, plus new experimental data collected by Thompson and Lee, to establish a long-sought connection between single impurities and lattice behavior in these materials.
They found that the crucial temperature at which the Kondo liquid emerges depends in a remarkably simple way on the coupling of individual local spins to the conduction electrons, Pines said.
The discovery should help researchers find the organizing principles of heavy-electron superconductivity, because it clarifies the nature of the normal state out of which superconductivity emerges, Pines said.
The work was supported by the National Science Foundation and by the ICAM fellowship for Yang. ICAM is a multidisciplinary research program of the University of California that has 57 branches across the U.S. and globally, with its headquarters at UC Davis.
Andy Fell | EurekAlert!
A big nano boost for solar cells
18.01.2017 | Kyoto University and Osaka Gas effort doubles current efficiencies
Multiregional brain on a chip
16.01.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
23.01.2017 | Process Engineering
23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.01.2017 | Life Sciences