Special Reviews

Quantum Criticality: Competing Ground States in Low Dimensions

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Science  21 Apr 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5465, pp. 475-480
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5465.475

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Small changes in an external parameter can often lead to dramatic qualitative changes in the lowest energy quantum mechanical ground state of a correlated electron system. In anisotropic crystals, such as the high-temperature superconductors where electron motion occurs primarily on a two-dimensional square lattice, the quantum critical point between two such lowest energy states has nontrivial emergent excitations that control the physics over a significant portion of the phase diagram. Nonzero temperature dynamic properties near quantum critical points are described, using simple theoretical models. Possible quantum phases and transitions in the two-dimensional electron gas on a square lattice are discussed.

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