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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Ferromagnetic transition in a one-dimensional spin-orbit-coupled metal and its mapping to a critical point in smectic liquid crystals


We study the quantum phase transition between a paramagnetic and ferromagnetic metal in the presence of Rashba spin-orbit coupling in one dimension. Using bosonization, we analyze the transition by means of renormalization group, controlled by an expansion around the upper critical dimension of two. We show that the presence of Rashba spin-orbit coupling allows for a new nonlinear term in the bosonized action, which generically leads to a fluctuation driven first-order transition. We further demonstrate that the Euclidean action of this system maps onto a classical smectic-A-C phase transition in a magnetic field in two dimensions. We show that the smectic transition is second order and is controlled by a new critical point.

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