Quantum-critical scale invariance in a transition metal alloy
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Quantum-mechanical fluctuations between competing phases induce exotic collective excitations that exhibit anomalous behavior in transport and thermodynamic properties, and are often intimately linked to the appearance of unconventional Cooper pairing. High-temperature superconductivity, however, makes it difficult to assess the role of quantum-critical fluctuations in shaping anomalous finite-temperature physical properties. Here we report temperature-field scale invariance of non-Fermi liquid thermodynamic, transport, and Hall quantities in a non-superconducting iron-pnictide, Ba(Fe1/3Co1/3Ni1/3)2As2, indicative of quantum criticality at zero temperature and applied magnetic field. Beyond a linear-in-temperature resistivity, the hallmark signature of strong quasiparticle scattering, we find a scattering rate that obeys a universal scaling relation between temperature and applied magnetic fields down to the lowest energy scales. Together with the dominance of hole-like carriers close to the zero-temperature and zero-field limits, the scale invariance, isotropic field response, and lack of applied pressure sensitivity suggests a unique quantum critical system unhindered by a pairing instability.
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