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Electronic inhomogeneity in a Kondo lattice

E. D. Bauer, Yi-feng Yang, C. Capan, R. R. Urbano, C. F. Miclea, H. Sakai, F. Ronning, M. J. Graf, A. V. Balatsky, R. Movshovich, A. D. Bianchi, A. P. Reyes, P. L. Kuhns, J. D. Thompson and Zachary Fisk
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 108, No. 17 (April 26, 2011), pp. 6857-6861
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41242093
Page Count: 5
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Electronic inhomogeneity in a Kondo lattice
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Abstract

Inhomogeneous electronic states resulting from entangled spin, charge, and lattice degrees of freedom are hallmarks of strongly correlated electron materials; such behavior has been observed in many classes of d-electron materials, including the high-Tc copperoxide superconductors, manganites, and most recently the ironpnictide superconductors. The complexity generated by competing phases in these materials constitutes a considerable theoretical challenge—one that still defies a complete description. Here, we report a manifestation of electronic inhomogeneity in a strongly correlated f-electron system, using CeColn₅ as an example. A thermodynamic analysis of its superconductivity, combined with nuclear quadrupole resonance measurements, shows that nonmagnetic impurities (Y, La, Yb, Th, Hg, and Sn) locally suppress unconventional superconductivity, generating an inhomogeneous electronic "Swiss cheese" due to disrupted periodicity of the Kondo lattice. Our analysis may be generalized to include related systems, suggesting that electronic inhomogeneity should be considered broadly in Kondo lattice materials.

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