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Nat Commun. 2011 Jul 19;2:396. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1406.

Gross violation of the Wiedemann-Franz law in a quasi-one-dimensional conductor.

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H. H. Wills Physics Laboratory, University of Bristol, Tyndall Avenue, Bristol BS8 1TL, UK.


When charge carriers are spatially confined to one dimension, conventional Fermi-liquid theory breaks down. In such Tomonaga-Luttinger liquids, quasiparticles are replaced by distinct collective excitations of spin and charge that propagate independently with different velocities. Although evidence for spin-charge separation exists, no bulk low-energy probe has yet been able to distinguish successfully between Tomonaga-Luttinger and Fermi-liquid physics. Here we show experimentally that the ratio of the thermal and electrical Hall conductivities in the metallic phase of quasi-one-dimensional Li(0.9)Mo(6)O(17) diverges with decreasing temperature, reaching a value five orders of magnitude larger than that found in conventional metals. Both the temperature dependence and magnitude of this ratio are consistent with Tomonaga-Luttinger liquid theory. Such a dramatic manifestation of spin-charge separation in a bulk three-dimensional solid offers a unique opportunity to explore how the fermionic quasiparticle picture recovers, and over what time scale, when coupling to a second or third dimension is restored.

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