Visualizing the formation of the Kondo lattice and the hidden order in URu2Si2

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Heavy electronic states originating from the f atomic orbitals underlie a rich variety of quantum phases of matter. We use atomic scale imaging and spectroscopy with the scanning tunneling microscope to examine the novel electronic states that emerge from the uranium f states in URu2Si2. We find that, as the temperature is lowered, partial screening of the f spins gives rise to a spatially modulated Kondo-Fano resonance that is maximal between the surface U atoms. At T = 17.5 K, URu2Si2 is known to undergo a second-order phase transition from the Kondo lattice state into a phase with a hidden order parameter. From tunneling spectroscopy, we identify a spatially modulated, bias-asymmetric energy gap with a mean-field temperature dependence that develops in the hidden order state. Spectroscopic imaging further reveals a spatial correlation between the hidden order gap and the Kondo resonance, suggesting that the two phenomena involve the same electronic states.

Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science:
"Visualizing the formation of the Kondo lattice and the hidden order in URu2Si2," Pegor Aynajian, Eduado H. da Silva Neto, Colin V. Parker, Yingkai Huang, Abhay Pasupathy, John Mydosh, and Ali Yazdani, Proc. Nat'l. Acad. Sci USA 107, 10383 (2010). (Article)