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Quantum Criticality in Ferroelectrics

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Materials tuned to the neighbourhood of a zero temperature phase transition often show the emergence of novel quantum phenomena. Much of the effort to study these new emergent effects, like the break down of the conventional Fermi-liquid theory of metals, has been focused in narrow band electronic systems. Ferroelectric crystals provide another class of materials in which to study quantum criticality and its resulting effects. In many cases the ferroelectric phase can be tuned to absolute zero using hydrostatic pressure. Close to such a zero temperature phase transition, the dielectric constant and other quantities change into radically unconventional forms due to the fluctuations experienced in this region. Measurements in pure single crystals of SrTi16O3 and SrTi18O3 will be shown and a simple model for describing the Ferroelectric quantum critical point will be outlined. The expected 1/T^2 dependence of the dielectric constant in SrTi16O3 over a wide temperature range at low temperatures will be highlighted as well as some further novel features. Looking to the future, one might imagine that quantum paraelectric fluctuations could lead to new low temperature states and mediate novel interactions in ferroelectric crystals supporting itinerant electrons.

This talk is part of the Correlated quantum systems discussion group series.

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