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Superconductivity, Magnetism, and Atomic Rattling Phenomena in R_{3}Rh_{4}Ge_{13} (R=Y, Yb, Lu)

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We give a first report of the physical properties of the pair of cubic intermetallic compounds R_{3}Rh_{4}Ge_{13}, with R being either Yb or Lu. The crystal structure can be described in terms of 3 atomic cages, and we reveal how certain thermal physical properties are inherent to this particular atomic layout. Close to room temperature, Yb_{3}Rh_{4}Ge_{13} displays strong paramagnetism originating from Yb^{3+} ions, but upon cooling though 100 K the magnetic susceptibility and electrical resistivity behave according to a thermally driven valence instability, and we classify Yb_{3}Rh_{4}Ge_{13} therefore as an intermediate valent f-electron system. Lu_{3}Rh_{4}Ge_{13} behaves in a diamagnetic manner throughout our accessible temperature range, - first with a weakly temperature-dependent magnetic susceptibility below room temperature, and finally with a precipitous drop in the electrical resistivity to zero at 2.5 K when superconductivity sets in.
  • Highly Correlated Matter Research Group, Physics Department, University of Johannesburg, PO Box 524, Auckland Park 2006, South Africa
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