The subtle interplay of randomness and quantum fluctuations at low temperatures gives rise to a plethora of unconventional phenomena in systems ranging from quantum magnets and correlated electron materials to ultracold atomic gases. Particularly strong disorder effects have been predicted to occur at zero-temperature quantum phase transitions. Here, we demonstrate that the composition-driven ferromagnetic-to-paramagnetic quantum phase transition in Sr 1-xCa xRuO 3 is completely destroyed by the disorder introduced via the different ionic radii of the randomly distributed Sr and Ca ions. Using a magneto-optical technique, we map the magnetic phase diagram in the composition-temperature space. We find that the ferromagnetic phase is significantly extended by the disorder and develops a pronounced tail over a broad range of the composition x. These findings are explained by a microscopic model of smeared quantum phase transitions in itinerant magnets. Moreover, our theoretical study implies that correlated disorder is even more powerful in promoting ferromagnetism than random disorder.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)