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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Ferromagnetic quantum critical point in CePd2 P2 with Pd → Ni substitution

  • Author(s): Lai, Y
  • Bone, SE
  • Minasian, S
  • Ferrier, MG
  • Lezama-Pacheco, J
  • Mocko, V
  • Ditter, AS
  • Kozimor, SA
  • Seidler, GT
  • Nelson, WL
  • Chiu, YC
  • Huang, K
  • Potter, W
  • Graf, D
  • Albrecht-Schmitt, TE
  • Baumbach, RE
  • et al.

An investigation of the structural, thermodynamic, and electronic transport properties of the isoelectronic chemical substitution series Ce(Pd1-xNix)2P2 is reported, where a possible ferromagnetic quantum critical point is uncovered in the temperature-concentration (T-x) phase diagram. This behavior results from the simultaneous contraction of the unit cell volume, which tunes the relative strengths of the Kondo and Ruderman-Kittel-Kasuya-Yosida (RKKY) interactions, and the introduction of disorder through alloying. Near the critical region at xcr≈ 0.7, the rate of contraction of the unit cell volume strengthens, indicating that the cerium f valence crosses over from trivalent to a noninteger value. Consistent with this picture, x-ray absorption spectroscopy measurements reveal that while CePd2P2 has a purely trivalent cerium f state, CeNi2P2 has a small (<10 %) tetravalent contribution. In a broad region around xcr, there is a breakdown of Fermi-liquid temperature dependences, signaling the influence of quantum critical fluctuations and disorder effects. Measurements of clean CePd2P2 furthermore show that applied pressure has an initial effect similar to alloying on the ferromagnetic order. From these results, CePd2P2 emerges as a keystone system to test theories such as the Belitz-Kirkpatrick-Vojta model for ferromagnetic quantum criticality, where distinct behaviors are expected in the dirty and clean limits.

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