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Microscopic theory of the nematic phase in Sr3Ru2O7

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Raghu, S., Paramekanti, A., Kim, E. A., Borzi, R. A., Grigera, S. A., Mackenzie, A. P., et al. (2009). Microscopic theory of the nematic phase in Sr3Ru2O7. Physical Review B, 79(21): 214402, pp. 1-10. doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.79.214402.

In an externally applied magnetic field, ultrapure crystals of the bilayer compound Sr3Ru2O7 undergo a metamagnetic transition below a critical temperature, T-*, which varies as a function of the angle between the magnetic field H and the Ru-O planes. Moreover, T-* approaches zero when H is perpendicular to the planes. This putative "metamagnetic quantum critical point," however, is pre-empted by a nematic fluid phase with order one resistive anisotropy in the ab plane. In a "realistic" bilayer model with moderate strength local Coulomb interactions, the existence of a sharp divergence of the electronic density of states near a van Hove singularity of the quasi-one-dimensional bands, and the presence of spin-orbit coupling results in a mean-field phase diagram which accounts for many of these experimentally observed phenomena. Although the spin-orbit coupling is not overly strong, it destroys the otherwise near-perfect Fermi-surface nesting and hence suppresses spin-density-wave ordering.