ReportHeavy Fermions

Unconventional Fermi surface in an insulating state

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Science  02 Jul 2015:
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa7974

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Insulators occur in more than one guise; a recent finding was the class of topological insulators, which host a conducting surface juxtaposed with an insulating bulk. Here we report the observation of an unusual insulating state with an electrically insulating bulk that simultaneously yields bulk quantum oscillations with characteristics of an unconventional Fermi liquid. We present quantum oscillation measurements of magnetic torque in high purity single crystals of the Kondo insulator SmB6, which reveal quantum oscillation frequencies characteristic of a large three-dimensional conduction electron Fermi surface similar to the metallic rare earth hexaborides such as PrB6 and LaB6. The quantum oscillation amplitude strongly increases at low temperatures, appearing strikingly at variance with conventional metallic behavior.

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