Heavy Fermions and Quantum Phase Transitions

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Science  03 Sep 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5996, pp. 1161-1166
DOI: 10.1126/science.1191195

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Quantum phase transitions arise in many-body systems because of competing interactions that promote rivaling ground states. Recent years have seen the identification of continuous quantum phase transitions, or quantum critical points, in a host of antiferromagnetic heavy-fermion compounds. Studies of the interplay between the various effects have revealed new classes of quantum critical points and are uncovering a plethora of new quantum phases. At the same time, quantum criticality has provided fresh insights into the electronic, magnetic, and superconducting properties of the heavy-fermion metals. We review these developments, discuss the open issues, and outline some directions for future research.

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