Research ArticlesPhysics

Coherent band excitations in CePd3: A comparison of neutron scattering and ab initio theory

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Science  12 Jan 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6372, pp. 186-191
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan0593

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Neutrons peek into f-electron bands

Neutron scattering can be used to tease out the details of collective magnetic excitations that yield well-defined peaks in the data. In principle, it could also be used to look into single-electron band excitations, but collecting enough data to capture broad distributions of intensity is tricky. Goremychkin et al. used neutron spectrometers that could efficiently capture a large amount of data by rotating the sample, a crystal of the intermediatevalence compound CePd3 (see the Perspective by Georges). The measured dynamical magnetic susceptibility, in combination with detailed ab initio calculations, showed the formation of coherent f-electron bands at low temperatures.

Science, this issue p. 186; see also p. 162


In common with many strongly correlated electron systems, intermediate valence compounds are believed to display a crossover from a high-temperature regime of incoherently fluctuating local moments to a low-temperature regime of coherent hybridized bands. We show that inelastic neutron scattering measurements of the dynamic magnetic susceptibility of CePd3 provides a benchmark for ab initio calculations based on dynamical mean field theory. The magnetic response is strongly momentum dependent thanks to the formation of coherent f-electron bands at low temperature, with an amplitude that is strongly enhanced by local particle-hole interactions. The agreement between experiment and theory shows that we have a robust first-principles understanding of the temperature dependence of f-electron coherence.

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