Multiple Scales of Quantum Criticality

Science  16 Feb 2007:
Vol. 315, Issue 5814, pp. 909
DOI: 10.1126/science.315.5814.909n

It is thought that quantum criticality, the occurrence of phase transitions in the limit of zero temperature by an external parameter, may provide a mechanism to describe a rich variety of physical phenomena observed in a host of quantum materials, such as non-Fermi liquid behavior and unconventional superconductivity. A proper description of quantum criticality, however, is still lacking—the challenge remains because the spatial and temporal fluctuations of the ordering are both collective and quantum mechanical. Gegenwart et al. (p. 969; see the Perspective by Schofield) present experimental measurements that reveal the existence of multiple energy scales to describe various types of ordering within the quantum critical regime. The authors argue that results may shed further light on the underlying description of quantum critical behavior.

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