Enhanced Hybridization Sets the Stage for Electronic Nematicity in CeRhIn5

P. F.S. Rosa, S. M. Thomas, F. F. Balakirev, E. D. Bauer, R. M. Fernandes, J. D. Thompson, F. Ronning, M. Jaime

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19 Scopus citations


High magnetic fields induce a pronounced in-plane electronic anisotropy in the tetragonal antiferromagnetic metal CeRhIn5 at H∗30 T for fields ≃20° off the c axis. Here we investigate the response of the underlying crystal lattice in magnetic fields to 45 T via high-resolution dilatometry. At low fields, a finite magnetic field component in the tetragonal ab plane explicitly breaks the tetragonal (C4) symmetry of the lattice revealing a finite nematic susceptibility. A modest a-axis expansion at H∗ hence marks the crossover to a fluctuating nematic phase with large nematic susceptibility. Magnetostriction quantum oscillations confirm a Fermi surface change at H∗ with the emergence of new orbits. By analyzing the field-induced change in the crystal-field ground state, we conclude that the in-plane Ce 4f hybridization is enhanced at H∗, in agreement with the in-plane lattice expansion. We argue that the nematic behavior observed in this prototypical heavy-fermion material is of electronic origin, and is driven by the hybridization between 4f and conduction electrons which carries the f-electron anisotropy to the Fermi surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number016402
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 8 2019

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© 2019 American Physical Society.

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