An effective mass of charge carriers that is significantly larger than the mass of a free electron develops at low temperatures in certain lanthanide- and actinide-based metals, including those formed with plutonium, owing to strong electron-electron interactions. This heavy-fermion mass is reflected in a substantially enhanced electronic coefficient of specific heat γ, which for elemental Pu is much larger than that of normal metals. By our definition, there are twelve Pu-based heavy-fermion compounds, most discovered recently, whose basic properties are known and discussed. Relative to other examples, these Pu-based heavy-fermion systems are particularly complex owing in part to the possible simultaneous presence of multiple, nearly degenerate 5fn configurations. This complexity poses significant opportunities as well as challenges, including understanding the origin of unconventional superconductivity in some of these materials.

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Plutonium-Based Heavy-Fermion Systems

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