Report

Rotational Symmetry Breaking in the Hidden-Order Phase of URu2Si2

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  28 Jan 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6016, pp. 439-442
DOI: 10.1126/science.1197358

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Abstract

A second-order phase transition is characterized by spontaneous symmetry breaking. The nature of the broken symmetry in the so-called “hidden-order” phase transition in the heavy-fermion compound URu2Si2, at transition temperature Th = 17.5 K, has posed a long-standing mystery. We report the emergence of an in-plane anisotropy of the magnetic susceptibility below Th, which breaks the four-fold rotational symmetry of the tetragonal URu2Si2. Two-fold oscillations in the magnetic torque under in-plane field rotation were sensitively detected in small pure crystals. Our findings suggest that the hidden-order phase is an electronic “nematic” phase, a translationally invariant metallic phase with spontaneous breaking of rotational symmetry.

View Full Text