Phonon Dispersions of fcc δ-Plutonium-Gallium by Inelastic X-ray Scattering

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Science  22 Aug 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5636, pp. 1078-1080
DOI: 10.1126/science.1087179

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We report an experimental determination of the phonon dispersion curves in a face-centered cubic (fcc) δ-plutonium–0.6 weight % gallium alloy. Several unusual features, including a large elastic anisotropy, a small-shear elastic modulus C′, a Kohn-like anomaly in the T1[011] branch, and a pronounced softening of the [111] transverse modes, are found. These features can be related to the phase transitions of plutonium and to strong coupling between the lattice structure and the 5f valence instabilities. Our results also provide a critical test for theoretical treatments of highly correlated 5f electron systems as exemplified by recent dynamical mean field theory calculations for δ-plutonium.

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