Research ArticlePHYSICS

Pristine quantum criticality in a Kondo semimetal

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Science Advances  19 May 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 21, eabf9134
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abf9134

Abstract

The observation of quantum criticality in diverse classes of strongly correlated electron systems has been instrumental in establishing ordering principles, discovering new phases, and identifying the relevant degrees of freedom and interactions. At focus so far have been insulators and metals. Semimetals, which are of great current interest as candidate phases with nontrivial topology, are much less explored in experiments. Here, we study the Kondo semimetal CeRu4Sn6 by magnetic susceptibility, specific heat, and inelastic neutron scattering experiments. The power-law divergence of the magnetic Grünesien ratio reveals that, unexpectedly, this compound is quantum critical without tuning. The dynamical energy over temperature scaling in the neutron response throughout the Brillouin zone and the temperature dependence of the static uniform susceptibility, indicate that temperature is the only energy scale in the criticality. Such behavior, which has been associated with Kondo destruction quantum criticality in metallic systems, could be generic in the semimetal setting.

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