Controlling crystal-electric field levels through symmetry-breaking uniaxial pressure in a cubic super heavy fermion
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YbPtBi is one of the heavy-fermion systems with largest Sommerfeld coefficient γ and is thus classified as a ‘super’-heavy fermion material. In this work, we resolve the long-debated question about the hierarchy of relevant energy scales, such as crystal-electric field (CEF) levels, Kondo and magnetic ordering temperature, in YbPtBi. Through measurements of the a.c. elastocaloric effect and generic symmetry arguments, we identify an elastic level splitting that is unambiguously associated with the symmetry-allowed splitting of a quartet CEF level. This quartet, which we identify to be the first excited state at Δ/kB ≈ 1.6 K above the doublet ground state at ambient pressure, is well below the proposed Kondo temperature TK ≈ 10 K. Consequently, this analysis of the energy scheme can provide support models that predict that the heavy electron mass is a result of an enhanced degeneracy of the CEF ground state, i.e., a quasi-sextet in YbPtBi. At the same time, our study shows the potential of the a.c. elastocaloric effect to control and quantify strain-induced changes of the CEF schemes, opening a different route to disentangle the CEF energy scales from other relevant energy scales in correlated quantum materials.
Gati , E , Schmidt , B , Bud’ko , S L , Mackenzie , A P & Canfield , P C 2023 , ' Controlling crystal-electric field levels through symmetry-breaking uniaxial pressure in a cubic super heavy fermion ' , npj Quantum Materials , vol. 8 , 69 . https://doi.org/10.1038/s41535-023-00596-1
npj Quantum Materials