Volume 87, Number 2, July 2009
Article Number 27014
Number of page(s) 5
Section Condensed Matter: Electronic Structure, Electrical, Magnetic and Optical Properties
Published online 18 August 2009
EPL, 87 (2009) 27014
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/87/27014

Lack of Kondo screening at nanocontacts of nearly magnetic metals

P. Gentile1, 2, L. De Leo3, M. Fabrizio1, 4 and E. Tosatti1, 4

1   International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA), and CRS Democritos, CNR-INFM - Via Beirut 2-4, I-34014 Trieste, Italy, EU
2   Laboratorio Regionale SuperMat, CNR-INFM, and Dipartimento di Fisica “E. R. Caianiello”, Università di Salerno I-84081 Baronissi, Salerno, Italy, EU
3   Centre de Physique Théorique, Ecole Polytechnique, CNRS - 91128 Palaiseau, France, EU
4   The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) - P.O. Box 586, I-34014 Trieste, Italy, EU

received 14 May 2009; accepted in final form 20 July 2009; published July 2009
published online 18 August 2009

Magnetic impurities bridging nanocontacts and break junctions of nearly magnetic metals may lead to permanent moments, analogous to the giant moments well known in the bulk case. A numerical renormalization group (NRG) study shows that, contrary to mean-field–based expectations, a permanent moment never arises within an Anderson model, which invariably leads to strong Kondo screening. In the presence of an additional ferromagnetic intersite exchange coupling between leads and impurity, realistic for nearly ferromagnetic leads, the NRG may instead stabilize a permanent moment. The resulting state is a rotationally invariant spin, which differs profoundly from mean field and whose physical properties are those of a ferromagnetic Kondo model as opposed to the more conventional antiferromagnetic one, where the localized moment gets eventually screened by the conduction electrons. A sign inversion of the zero-bias anomaly and other spectroscopic signatures of the switch from regular to ferromagnetic Kondo are outlined.

73.63.Rt - Nanoscale contacts.
72.15.Qm - Scattering mechanisms and Kondo effect.
75.20.Hr - Local moment in compounds and alloys; Kondo effect, valence fluctuations, heavy fermions.

© EPLA 2009