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Title: The valence-fluctuating ground state of plutonium

A central issue in material science is to obtain understanding of the electronic correlations that control complex materials. Such electronic correlations frequently arise because of the competition of localized and itinerant electronic degrees of freedom. Although the respective limits of well-localized or entirely itinerant ground states are well understood, the intermediate regime that controls the functional properties of complex materials continues to challenge theoretical understanding. We have used neutron spectroscopy to investigate plutonium, which is a prototypical material at the brink between bonding and nonbonding configurations. In addition, our study reveals that the ground state of plutonium is governed by valence fluctuations, that is, a quantum mechanical superposition of localized and itinerant electronic configurations as recently predicted by dynamical mean field theory. Our results not only resolve the long-standing controversy between experiment and theory on plutonium’s magnetism but also suggest an improved understanding of the effects of such electronic dichotomy in complex materials.
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  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. Rutgers Univ., Piscataway, NJ (United States)
  3. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  4. Institute for Transuranium Elements, Karlsruhe (Germany)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2375-2548
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Science Advances
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 1; Journal Issue: 6; Journal ID: ISSN 2375-2548
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; plutonium; valence fluctuations; electronic ground state; strongly correlated electron physics; material science; Kondo physics; dynamical mean field theory; neutron spectroscopy