Unconventional quantum criticality emerging as a new common language of transition-metal compounds, heavy-fermion systems, and organic conductors

Masatoshi Imada*, Takahiro Misawa, Youhei Yamaji

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


We analyze and overview some of the different types of unconventional quantum criticalities by focusing on two origins. One origin of the unconventionality is the proximity to first-order transitions. The border between the first-order and continuous transitions is described by a quantum tricritical point (QTCP) for symmetry breaking transitions. One of the characteristic features of the quantum tricriticality is the concomitant divergence of an order parameter and uniform fluctuations, in contrast to the conventional quantum critical point (QCP). The interplay of these two fluctuations generates unconventionality. Several puzzling non-Fermi-liquid properties in experiments are taken to be accounted for by the resultant universality, as in the cases of Y bRh2Si2, CeRu 2Si2 and β-Y bAlB4. Another more dramatic unconventionality appears again at the border of the first-order and continuous transitions, but in this case for topological transitions such as metal-insulator and Lifshitz transitions. This border, the marginal quantum critical point (MQCP), belongs to an unprecedented universality class with diverging uniform fluctuations at zero temperature. The Ising universality at the critical end point of the first-order transition at nonzero temperatures transforms to the marginal quantum criticality when the critical temperature is suppressed to zero. The MQCP has a unique feature with a combined character of symmetry breaking and topological transitions. In the metal-insulator transitions, the theoretical results are supported by experimental indications for V2 - xCrxO3 and an organic conductor κ-(ET)2Cu[N(CN)2]Cl. Identifying topological transitions also reveals how non-Fermi liquid appears as a phase in metals. The theory also accounts for the criticality of a metamagnetic transition in ZrZn2, by interpreting it as an interplay of Lifshitz transition and correlation effects. We discuss the common underlying physics in these examples.

Original languageEnglish
Article number164206
JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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