Europhys. Lett.
Volume 65, Number 6, March 2004
Page(s) 816 - 822
Section Condensed matter: electronic structure, electrical, magnetic, and optical properties
Published online 01 March 2004
Europhys. Lett., 65 (6) , pp. 816-822 (2004)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2003-10127-x

Metamagnetism of itinerant electrons in multi-layer ruthenates

B. Binz1, 2 and M. Sigrist1

1  Département de physique, Université de Fribourg, Pérolles CH-1700 Fribourg, Switzerland
2  Theoretische Physik, ETH-Hönggerberg - CH-8093 Zürich, Switzerland

(Received 16 September 2003; accepted 14 January 2004)

The problem of quantum criticality in the context of itinerant ferro- or metamagnetism has received considerable attention (Grigera S. A. et al., Science 294 (2001) 329; Pfleiderer C. et al., Nature 414 (2001) 427). It has been proposed that a new kind of quantum criticality is realised in materials such as $\chem{MnSi}$ or $\chem{Sr_3Ru_2O_7}$. We show, based on a mean-field theory, that the low-temperature behaviour of the n-layer ruthenates $\chem{Sr}$ n+1 $\chem{Ru}$ n $\chem{O}$ 3n+1 can be understood as a result of a Van Hove singularity (VHS). We consider a single band whose Fermi energy, $E_{\ab{F}}$, is close to the VHS and deduce a complex phase diagram for the magnetism as a function of temperature, magnetic field and $E_{\ab{F}}$. The location of $E_{\ab{F}}$ with respect to the VHS depends on the number of layers or can be tuned by pressure. We find that the ferromagnetic quantum phase transition in this case is not of second but of first order, with a metamagnetic quantum critical end-point at high magnetic field. Despite its simplicity, this model describes well the properties of the uniform magnetism in the single-, double- and triple-layer ruthenates. We would like to emphasise that the origin of this behaviour lies in the band structure.

75.30.Kz - Magnetic phase boundaries (including magnetic transitions, metamagnetism, etc.).
75.10.Lp - Band and itinerant models.
71.27.+a - Strongly correlated electron systems; heavy fermions.

© EDP Sciences 2004