Volume-wise destruction of the antiferromagnetic Mott insulating state through quantum tuning

Frandsen, Benjamin A.; Liu, Lian; Cheung, Sky Chance; Khasanov, Rustem; Guguchia, Zurab; Morenzoni, Elvezio; Munsie, Timothy J. S.; Hallas, Alannah M.; Cai, Yipeng; Wilson, Murray N.; Luke, Graeme M.; Chen, Bijuan; Li, Wenmin; Ding, Cui; Jin, Changqing; Guo, Shengli; Ning, Fanlong; Ito, Takashi U.; Higemoto, Wataru; Billinge, Simon J. L.; Sakamoto, Shoya; Fujimori, Atsushi; Murakami, Taito; Kageyama, Hiroshi; Alonso, Jose Antonio; Kotliar, Gabriel; Imada, Masatoshi; Uemura, Yasutomo J.

RENiO3 (RE=rare-earth element) and V2O3 are archetypal Mott insulator systems. When tuned by chemical substitution (RENiO3) or pressure (V2O3), they exhibit a quantum phase transition (QPT) between an antiferromagnetic Mott insulating state and a paramagnetic metallic state. Because novel physics often appears near a Mott QPT, the details of this transition, such as whether it is first or second order, are important. Here, we demonstrate through muon spin relaxation/rotation (μSR) experiments that the QPT in RENiO3 and V2O3 is first order: the magnetically ordered volume fraction decreases to zero at the QPT, resulting in a broad region of intrinsic phase separation, while the ordered magnetic moment retains its full value until it is suddenly destroyed at the QPT. These findings bring to light a surprising universality of the pressure-driven Mott transition, revealing the importance of phase separation and calling for further investigation into the nature of quantum fluctuations underlying the transition.


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Nature Communications

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Academic Units
Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics
Published Here
October 21, 2016