Jul 3, 2020

A three-dimensional phase diagram of heavy-fermion compound with competing quantum phases

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

URu2Si2 is a metal that belongs to the family of heavy-fermion compounds in which several quantum phases (e.g., magnetism and superconductivity) can compete or coexist. These metals exhibit small energy scales that are easy to tune, a characteristic that makes them ideal for testing new physical ideas and concepts.

For instance, researchers have often used these compounds to test theories related to , quantum criticality and unconventional superconductivity. Studying heavy-fermion metals could ultimately unveil new physical properties of other correlated-electron materials that have shown promise for a wide range of applications, such as .

A research team at the National Laboratory of High Magnetic Fields (LNCMI/CNRS) in France and Université Grenoble Alpes, in collaboration with researchers at Okayama University and Tohoku University in Japan, recently carried out a systematic investigation of URu2Si2 under a combination of high pressures and high magnetic fields. Their paper, published in Nature Physics, maps out a phase in the material that is so far poorly understood, delineating a complex three-dimensional phase diagram.

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