A quantum critical point arises at a continuous transformation between distinct phases of matter at zero temperature. Studies in antiferromagnetic heavy-fermion materials have revealed that quantum criticality has several classes, with an unconventional type that involves a critical destruction of the Kondo entanglement. To understand such varieties, it is important to extend the materials basis beyond the usual setting of intermetallic compounds. Here we show that a nickel oxypnictide, CeNiAsO, exhibits a heavy-fermion antiferromagnetic quantum critical point as a function of either pressure or P/As substitution. At the quantum critical point, non-Fermi-liquid behaviour appears, which is accompanied by a divergent effective carrier mass. Across the quantum critical point, the low-temperature Hall coefficient undergoes a rapid sign change, suggesting a sudden jump of the Fermi surface and a destruction of the Kondo effect. Our results imply that the enormous materials basis for the oxypnictides, which has been so crucial in the search for high-temperature superconductivity, will also play a vital role in the effort to establish the universality classes of quantum criticality in strongly correlated electron systems.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering