Quantum criticality is a central concept in condensed matter physics, but the direct observation of quantum critical fluctuations has remained elusive. Here we present an X-ray diffraction study of the charge density wave (CDW) in 2H-NbSe2 at high pressure and low temperature, where we observe a broad regime of order parameter fluctuations that are controlled by proximity to a quantum critical point. X-rays can track the CDW despite the fact that the quantum critical regime is shrouded inside a superconducting phase; and in contrast to transport probes, allow direct measurement of the critical fluctuations of the charge order. Concurrent measurements of the crystal lattice point to a critical transition that is continuous in nature. Our results confirm the long-standing expectations of enhanced quantum fluctuations in low-dimensional systems, and may help to constrain theories of the quantum critical Fermi surface.
|Number of pages
|Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
|Published - May 8 2012
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