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Title: Volume-wise destruction of the antiferromagnetic Mott insulating state through quantum tuning

RENiO 3 (RE=rare-earth element) and V 2O 3 are archetypal Mott insulator systems. When tuned by chemical substitution (RENiO 3) or pressure (V 2O 3), they exhibit a quantum phase transition (QPT) between an antiferromagnetic Mott insulating state and a paramagnetic metallic state. Because novel physics often appears near a Mott QPT, the details of this transition, such as whether it is first or second order, are important. Here, we demonstrate through muon spin relaxation/rotation (μSR) experiments that the QPT in RENiO 3 and V 2O 3 is first order: the magnetically ordered volume fraction decreases to zero at the QPT, resulting in a broad region of intrinsic phase separation, while the ordered magnetic moment retains its full value until it is suddenly destroyed at the QPT. These findings bring to light a surprising universality of the pressure-driven Mott transition, revealing the importance of phase separation and calling for further investigation into the nature of quantum fluctuations underlying the transition.
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  1. Columbia Univ., New York, NY (United States)
  2. Paul Scherrer Inst. (PSI), Villigen (Switzerland)
  3. McMaster Univ., Hamilton, ON (Canada)
  4. McMaster Univ., Hamilton, ON (Canada); Canadian Inst. for Advanced Research, Toronto (Canada)
  5. Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing (China). Inst. of Physics
  6. Zhejiang Univ., Hangzhou (China)
  7. Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), Tokai (Japan). Advanced Science Research Center
  8. Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
  9. Univ. of Tokyo (Japan)
  10. Kyoto Univ. (Japan)
  11. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC), Madrid (Spain). Inst. de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid, Cantoblanco
  12. Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States); Rutgers Univ., Piscataway, NJ (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723; R&D Project: PO011; KC0201060
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States