Quantitative Study Of Quantum Phase Transitions Key To High-Temp Superconductivity (Lawrence Berkeley Nat’l Lab )

Researchers uncovered the quantum phase transitions that may be behind the behavior of cuprate superconductors.


New technical paper “Evidence for a delocalization quantum phase transition without symmetry breaking in CeCoIn5”  led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in collaboration with UC Berkeley. “The hope is that our work may lead to a better understanding of superconductivity, which could find applications in next-gen energy storage, supercomputing, and magnetic levitation trains,” said first author Nikola Maksimovic, a graduate student researcher in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and UC Berkeley’s Physics Department.

“The study of quantum phase transitions that are not clearly associated with broken symmetry is a major effort in condensed matter physics, particularly in regard to the problem of high-temperature superconductivity, for which such transitions are thought to underlie the mechanism of superconductivity itself. Here we argue that the putative quantum critical point in the prototypical unconventional superconductor CeCoIn5 is characterized by the delocalization of electrons in a transition that connects two Fermi surfaces of different volumes, with no apparent broken symmetry. Drawing on established theory of f-electron metals, we discuss an interpretation for such a transition that involves the fractionalization of spin and charge, a model that effectively describes the anomalous transport behavior we measured for the Hall effect.”

Find the technical paper here. News writeup from Berkeley Lab is here.  Published December 2021.

Researchers from the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory facilities in Tallahassee, Florida, and Los Alamos, New Mexico; and from Uppsala University, Sweden, also participated in the study.

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