Critical elasticity at zero and finite temperature
Institut für Theoretische Physik, Universität zu Köln, Zülpicher Str. 77, 50937 Köln, Germany
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Received: 14 November 2014
Revised: 15 May 2015
Published online: 22 July 2015
Elastic phase transitions of crystals and phase transitions whose order parameter couples linearly to elastic degrees of freedom are reviewed with particular focus on instabilities at zero temperature. A characteristic feature of these transitions is the suppression of critical fluctuations by long-range shear forces. As a consequence, at an elastic crystal symmetry-breaking quantum phase transition the phonon velocity vanishes only along certain crystallographic directions giving rise to critical phonon thermodynamics described by a stable Gaussian fixed point. At an isostructural solid-solid quantum critical end point, on the other hand, the complete suppression of critical fluctuations results in true mean-field critical behavior without a diverging correlation length. Whenever an order parameter couples bilinearly to the strain tensor, the critical properties are eventually governed by critical crystal elasticity. This is, for example, the case for quantum critical metamagnetism but also for the classical critical Mott end point at finite T. We discuss and compare the solid-solid end points expected close to the Mott transition in V2O3 and κ-(BEDT-TTF)2X.
© EDP Sciences, Springer-Verlag, 2015