Southwestern Ontario 4-Corner Condensed Matter Symposium

Conference Date: 
Thursday, April 24, 2008 (All day)
Scientific Areas: 
Condensed Matter




Nodal Quasiparticles and Spin and Charge Order in the Cuprate Superconductors

Subiv Sachdev 

Department of Physics, Harvard University 

I will discuss the interplay between the fermionic nodal quasiparticles of a d-wave superconductor and the various spin and charge orders that have been observed in the cuprate superconductors. Fluctuations of a composite "nematic" order are identified as the dominant source of inelastic scattering which broadens the quasiparticle spectral function.


Ferroelectricity out of Magnetic Frustration

Collin Broholm

Department of Physics and Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University 

& NIST Center for Neutron Research

Responding electrically to magnetic stimuli and vise versa, multiferroics offer exciting possibilities for applications and challenge our understanding of coupled lattice and spin degrees of freedom in solids. I discuss how multiferroic properties can develop in frustrated magnets where competing interactions produce non-collinear spin order and symmetry breaking lattice distortions. Our experiments in TbMnO3, Ni3V2O8, and RbFe(MoO4)2 show that when the low temperature magnetic order breaks spatial inversion symmetry it is accompanied by ferroelectricity [1-3]. Conversely, the application of an electric field favors one of the two inversion symmetry related antiferromagnetic domains. We infer that inversion symmetry breaking magnetic order acts as an effective electric field through magneto-elastic distortions that relieve frustration. We also present evidence for microscopic correspondence between the ferroelectric and the antiferromagnetic domain structure. The results presented are based on magnetic neutron diffraction, pyrocurrent measurements, and theoretical work by A. B. Harris [4].

[1] M. Kenzelmann, A. B. Harris, S. Jonas, C. Broholm, J. Schefer, S. B. Kim, C. L. Zhang, S.-W. Cheong, O. P. Vajk, and J. W. Lynn, Phys. Rev. Lett. 95, 087206 (2005).

[2] G. Lawes, A. B. Harris, T. Kimura, N. Rogado, R. J. Cava, A. Aharony, O. Entin-Wohlman, T. Yildirim, M. Kenzelmann, C. Broholm, and A. P. Ramirez, Phys. Rev. Lett. 95, 087205 (2005).

[3] M. Kenzelmann, G. Lawes, A.B. Harris, G. Gasparovic, C. Broholm, A.P. Ramirez, G.A. Jorge, M. Jaime, S. Park, Q. Huang, A.Ya. Shapiro, and L.A. Demianets, Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, 267205 (2007).  

[4] A. B. Harris, Phys. Rev. B  76 , 054447  (2007).




Nature of Hidden Order in URu2Si2

Graeme Luke 

Department of Physics and Astronomy, McMaster University 

URu2Si2 is a moderate heavy fermion system which undergoes two transitions with decreasing temperature. The lower transition (1.5K) is to a possibly unconventional superconducting state, whereas the nature of the upper transition (17.5K) is poorly understood. Large lambda-like anomalies are seen in specific heat, along with strong signatures in other transport measurements such as resistivity and magnetic susceptibility. Neutron diffraction measurements only detect a very small ordered moment (0.03 μB), which is too small to give such large bulk signatures. This has prompted theorists to propose various exotic mechanisms to explain this so-called hidden order. I will review our group's efforts to understand this system, including our results on non-linear susceptibility and muon spin relaxation under hydrostatic pressure, as well as inelastic neutron scattering studies of this system.


Dynamics in Quantum Hall Effect in Graphene

Volodymyr Miransky

Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Western Ontario

I present a short review of recent developments both in experiment and theory in Quantum Hall Effect in Graphene. The emphasis is on the interpretation of the dynamics underlying recently experimentally discovered novel plateaus in strong magnetic fields (B > 20 T).


Stability of Superflow in Ultracold Fermions in Optical Lattices

Anton Burkov

Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Waterloo

Motivated by recent observations of superfluidity of ultracold fermions in optical lattices, we investigate the stability of superfluid flow of paired fermions in the lowest band of a strong optical lattice.  For fillings close to one fermion per site, we show that superflow breaks down via a dynamical instability leading to a transient density wave.  At lower fillings, there is a distinct dynamical instability, where the superfluid stiffness becomes negative; this evolves, with increasing pairing interaction, from the fermion pair breaking instability to the well-known dynamical instability of lattice bosons. Our most interesting finding is the existence of a transition, over a range of fillings close to one fermion per site, from the fermion depairing instability to the density wave instability as the strength of the pairing interaction is increased. By sharp contrast, the ground state in this regime evolves smoothly with increasing interaction analogous to the BCS-BEC crossover.


Computing Unconventional Quantum Phase Transitions

Roger Melko

Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Waterloo

Calculating universal properties of quantum phase transitions in microscopic Hamiltonians is a challenging task, made possible through large-scale numerical simulations coupled with finite-size scaling analyses.    The continuing advancement of quantum Monte Carlo technologies, together with modern high-performance computing infrastructure, has made amenable a new class of quantum Heisenberg Hamiltonian with four-spin exchange, which may harbor a continuous Néel-to-Valence Bond Solid quantum phase transition.  Such an exotic quantum critical point would necessarily lie outside of the standard Landau-Ginzburg-Wilson paradigm, and may contain novel physical phenomena such as emergent topological order and quantum number fractionalization.  I will discuss efforts to calculate universal critical exponents using large-scale quantum Monte Carlo simulations, and compare them to theoretical predictions, in particular from the recent theory of deconfined quantum criticality.


Non-Metallic Resistivity in Strongly Correlated Metals

Stephen Julian

Department of Physics, University of Toronto

There are a few examples in the literature of metals that, in the T  0 K limit, show a resistivity that rises with decreasing temperature without any sign of either saturation or a gap.  Well known cases include underdoped cuprates in high magnetic fields and some doped uranium heavy fermion compounds.   I will review these and some less-well-known cases, before describing the behaviour of FeCrAs [1], in which we find a continuously rising resistivity from 900 K down to below 50 mK, with a brief interruption due to an antiferromagnetic transition at about 100 K.  Down to at least 50 mK the resistivity is nearly linear in temperature, but with a negative coefficient.  We speculate that this behaviour may be connected to fluctuations of frustrated iron “trimers” that do not order magnetically.

1. W. Wu, A. McCollam, P.M.C. Rourke, D. Rancourt, I. Swainson and S.R. Julian, in preparation.


Spin Liquid with Spinon Fermi Surface:

Its Stability and Possible Application to the Organics

Sung-Sik Lee

Department of Physics and Astronomy, McMaster University

Based on a U(1) gauge theory of the Hubbard model on the triangular lattice, it is argued that a spin liquid phase may exist near the Mott transition in the organic compound κ-(BEDT-TTF)2Cu2(CN)3. In the spin liquid state, low energy excitations are fermionic spinons and an emergent U(1) gauge boson. Highly unusual transport properties are predicted due to the presence of a spinon Fermi surface. Despite rather good agreements with experiments, the stability of the spin liquid state has been continuously questioned because of the fluctuating gauge field which may destabilize the spin liquid state via confinement. In this talk, I will discuss how the presence of spinon Fermi surface can stabilize the spin liquid state against non-perturbative gauge fluctuations.