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Tuesday, 03 February, 2009

Kondo Decoherence: Finding the Right Spin Model for Iron Impurities in Gold and Silver

T. A. Costi, L. Bergqvist, A. Weichselbaum, J. von Delft, T. Micklitz, A. Rosch, P. Mavropoulos, P. H. Dederichs, F. Mallet, L. Saminadayar and C. Bäuerle -
Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 056802 (2009)

We exploit the decoherence of electrons due to magnetic impurities, studied via weak localization, to resolve a long-standing question concerning the classic Kondo systems of Fe impurities in the noble metals gold and silver: which Kondo-type model yields a realistic description of the relevant multiple bands, spin, and orbital degrees of freedom? Previous studies suggest a fully screened spin S Kondo model, but the value of S remained ambiguous. We perform density functional theory calculations that suggest S=3/2. We also compare previous and new measurements of both the resistivity and decoherence rate in quasi-one-dimensional wires to numerical renormalization group predictions for S=1/2, 1, and 3/2, finding excellent agreement for S=3/2.

Article on journal's website