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Quantum phase transition and destruction of Kondo effect in pressurized SmB6

  • Author(s): Zhou, Y;
  • Wu, Q;
  • Rosa, PFS;
  • Yu, R;
  • Guo, J;
  • Yi, W;
  • Zhang, S;
  • Wang, Z;
  • Wang, H;
  • Cai, S;
  • Yang, K;
  • Li, A;
  • Jiang, Z;
  • Zhang, S;
  • Wei, X;
  • Huang, Y;
  • Sun, P;
  • Yang, YF;
  • Fisk, Z;
  • Si, Q;
  • Zhao, Z;
  • Sun, L
  • et al.
Abstract

SmB6 has been a well-known Kondo insulator for decades, but recently attracts extensive new attention as a candidate topological system. Studying SmB6 under pressure provides an opportunity to acquire the much-needed understanding about the effect of electron correlations on both the metallic surface state and bulk insulating state. Here we do so by studying the evolution of two transport gaps (low temperature gap El and high temperature gap Eh) associated with the Kondo effect by measuring the electrical resistivity under high pressure and low temperature (0.3 K) conditions. We associate the gaps with the bulk Kondo hybridization, and from their evolution with pressure we demonstrate an insulator-to-metal transition at ∼4 GPa. At the transition pressure, a large change in the Hall number and a divergence tendency of the electron-electron scattering coefficient provide evidence for a destruction of the Kondo entanglement in the ground state. Our results raise the new prospect for studying topological electronic states in quantum critical materials settings.

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