Magnetic-field induced multiple topological phases in pyrochlore iridates with Mott criticality.
ABSTRACT: The interplay between electron correlation and spin-orbit coupling in solids has been proven to be an abundant gold mine for emergent topological phases. Here we report the results of systematic magnetotransport study on bandwidth-controlled pyrochlore iridates R2Ir2O7 near quantum metal-insulator transition (MIT). The application of a magnetic field along  crystallographic direction (H//) significantly decreases resistivity while producing a unique Hall response, which indicates the emergence of the novel semi-metallic state in the course of the magnetic transformation from all-in all-out (AIAO, 4/0) to 2-in 2-out (2/2) spin configuration. For H// that favours 3-in 1-out (3/1) configuration, by contrast, the resistivity exhibits saturation at a relatively high value typical of a semimetal. The observed properties can be identified to reflect the emergence of multiple Weyl semimetal states with varying numbers of Weyl points and line nodes in respective spin configurations. With tuning effective bandwidth, all these states appear to concentrate around the quantum MIT region, which may open a promising venue for topological phenomena and functions.
Project description:Controllable metal-insulator transitions (MIT), Rashba-Dresselhaus (RD) spin splitting, and Weyl semimetals are promising schemes for realizing processing devices. Complex oxides are a desirable materials platform for such devices, as they host delicate and tunable charge, spin, orbital, and lattice degrees of freedoms. Here, using first-principles calculations and symmetry analysis, we identify an electric-field tunable MIT, RD effect, and Weyl semimetal in a known, charge-ordered, and polar relativistic oxide Ag2BiO3 at room temperature. Remarkably, a centrosymmetric BiO6 octahedral-breathing distortion induces a sizable spontaneous ferroelectric polarization through Bi3+/Bi5+ charge disproportionation, which stabilizes simultaneously the insulating phase. The continuous attenuation of the Bi3+/Bi5+ disproportionation obtained by applying an external electric field reduces the band gap and RD spin splitting and drives the phase transition from a ferroelectric RD insulator to a paraelectric Dirac semimetal, through a topological Weyl semimetal intermediate state. These findings suggest that Ag2BiO3 is a promising material for spin-orbitonic applications.
Project description:Recently, oxides of Ir(4+) have received renewed attention in the condensed matter physics community, as it has been reported that certain iridates have a strongly spin-orbital coupled (SOC) electronic state, J eff = ½, that defines the electronic and magnetic properties. The canonical example is the Ruddlesden-Popper compound Sr2IrO4, which has been suggested as a potential route to a new class of high temperature superconductor due to the formal analogy between J eff = ½ and the S = ½ state of the cuprate superconductors. The quest for other iridium oxides that present tests of the underlying SOC physics is underway. In this spirit, here we report the synthesis and physical properties of two new quaternary tetravalent iridates, MLa10Ir4O24 (M = Sr, Ba). The crystal structure of both compounds features isolated IrO6 octahedra in which the electronic configuration of Ir is d(5). Both compounds order antiferromagnetically despite the lack of obvious superexchange pathways, and resistivity measurement shows that SrLa10Ir4O24 is an insulator.
Project description:A new class of materials termed topological insulators have been intensively investigated due to their unique Dirac surface state carrying dissipationless edge spin currents. Recently, it has been theoretically proposed that the three dimensional analogue of this type of band structure, the Weyl Semimetal phase, is materialized in pyrochlore oxides with strong spin-orbit coupling, accompanied by all-in-all-out spin ordering. Here, we report on the fabrication and magnetotransport of Eu2Ir2O7 single crystalline thin films. We reveal that one of the two degenerate all-in-all-out domain structures, which are connected by time-reversal operation, can be selectively formed by the polarity of the cooling magnetic field. Once formed, the domain is robust against an oppositely polarised magnetic field, as evidenced by an unusual odd field dependent term in the magnetoresistance and an anomalous term in the Hall resistance. Our findings pave the way for exploring the predicted novel quantum transport phenomenon at the surfaces/interfaces or magnetic domain walls of pyrochlore iridates.
Project description:Nonequilibrium many-body dynamics is becoming a central topic in condensed matter physics. Floquet topological states were suggested to emerge in photodressed bands under periodic laser driving. Here we propose a viable nonequilibrium route without requiring coherent Floquet states to reach the elusive magnetic Weyl semimetallic phase in pyrochlore iridates by ultrafast modification of the effective electron-electron interaction with short laser pulses. Combining ab initio calculations for a time-dependent self-consistent light-reduced Hubbard U and nonequilibrium magnetism simulations for quantum quenches, we find dynamically modified magnetic order giving rise to transiently emerging Weyl cones that can be probed by time- and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy. Our work offers a unique and realistic pathway for nonequilibrium materials engineering beyond Floquet physics to create and sustain Weyl semimetals. This may lead to ultrafast, tens-of-femtoseconds switching protocols for light-engineered Berry curvature in combination with ultrafast magnetism.
Project description:Weyl semimetals have attracted worldwide attention due to their wide range of exotic properties predicted in theories. The experimental realization had remained elusive for a long time despite much effort. Very recently, the first Weyl semimetal has been discovered in an inversion-breaking, stoichiometric solid TaAs. So far, the TaAs class remains the only Weyl semimetal available in real materials. To facilitate the transition of Weyl semimetals from the realm of purely theoretical interest to the realm of experimental studies and device applications, it is of crucial importance to identify other robust candidates that are experimentally feasible to be realized. In this paper, we propose such a Weyl semimetal candidate in an inversion-breaking, stoichiometric compound strontium silicide, SrSi2, with many new and novel properties that are distinct from TaAs. We show that SrSi2 is a Weyl semimetal even without spin-orbit coupling and that, after the inclusion of spin-orbit coupling, two Weyl fermions stick together forming an exotic double Weyl fermion with quadratic dispersions and a higher chiral charge of ±2. Moreover, we find that the Weyl nodes with opposite charges are located at different energies due to the absence of mirror symmetry in SrSi2, paving the way for the realization of the chiral magnetic effect. Our systematic results not only identify a much-needed robust Weyl semimetal candidate but also open the door to new topological Weyl physics that is not possible in TaAs.
Project description:Spin-orbit torque has recently been intensively investigated for the purposes of manipulating the magnetization in magnetic nano-devices and understanding fundamental physics. Therefore, the search for novel materials or material combinations that exhibit a strong enough spin-torque effect has become one of the top priorities in this field of spintronics. Weyl semimetal, a new topological material that features open Fermi arc with strong spin-orbit coupling and spin-momentum locking effect, is naturally expected to exhibit an enhanced spin-torque effect in magnetic nano-devices. Here we observe a significantly enhanced spin conductivity, which is associated with the field-like torque at low temperatures. The enhancement is obtained in the b-axis WTe2/Py bilayers of nano-devices but not observed in the a-axis of WTe2/Py nano-devices, which can be ascribed to the enhanced spin accumulation by the spin-momentum locking effect of the Fermi arcs of the Weyl semimetal WTe2.
Project description:A Weyl semimetal possesses spin-polarized band-crossings, called Weyl nodes, connected by topological surface arcs. The low-energy excitations near the crossing points behave the same as massless Weyl fermions, leading to exotic properties like chiral anomaly. To have the transport properties dominated by Weyl fermions, Weyl nodes need to locate nearly at the chemical potential and enclosed by pairs of individual Fermi surfaces with non-zero Fermi Chern numbers. Combining angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy and first-principles calculation, here we show that TaP is a Weyl semimetal with only a single type of Weyl fermions, topologically distinguished from TaAs where two types of Weyl fermions contribute to the low-energy physical properties. The simple Weyl fermions in TaP are not only of fundamental interests but also of great potential for future applications. Fermi arcs on the Ta-terminated surface are observed, which appear in a different pattern from that on the As-termination in TaAs and NbAs.
Project description:Weyl semimetals are of great interest because they provide the first realization of the Weyl fermion, exhibit exotic quantum anomalies, and host Fermi arc surface states. The separation between Weyl nodes of opposite chirality gives a measure of the robustness of the Weyl semimetal state. To exploit the novel phenomena that arise from Weyl fermions in applications, it is crucially important to find robust separated Weyl nodes. We propose a methodology to design robust Weyl semimetals with well-separated Weyl nodes. Using this methodology as a guideline, we search among the material parameter space and identify by far the most robust and ideal Weyl semimetal candidate in the single-crystalline compound tantalum sulfide (Ta3S2) with new and novel properties beyond TaAs. Crucially, our results show that Ta3S2 has the largest k-space separation between Weyl nodes among known Weyl semimetal candidates, which is about twice larger than the measured value in TaAs and 20 times larger than the predicted value in WTe2. Moreover, all Weyl nodes in Ta3S2 are of type II. Therefore, Ta3S2 is a type II Weyl semimetal. Furthermore, we predict that increasing the lattice by <4% can annihilate all Weyl nodes, driving a novel topological metal-to-insulator transition from a Weyl semimetal state to a topological insulator state. The robust type II Weyl semimetal state and the topological metal-to-insulator transition in Ta3S2 are potentially useful in device applications. Our methodology can be generally applied to search for new Weyl semimetals.
Project description:Weyl fermions are massless chiral fermions that play an important role in quantum field theory but have never been observed as fundamental particles. A Weyl semimetal is an unusual crystal that hosts Weyl fermions as quasiparticle excitations and features Fermi arcs on its surface. Such a semimetal not only provides a condensed matter realization of the anomalies in quantum field theories but also demonstrates the topological classification beyond the gapped topological insulators. Here, we identify a topological Weyl semimetal state in the transition metal monopnictide materials class. Our first-principles calculations on TaAs reveal its bulk Weyl fermion cones and surface Fermi arcs. Our results show that in the TaAs-type materials the Weyl semimetal state does not depend on fine-tuning of chemical composition or magnetic order, which opens the door for the experimental realization of Weyl semimetals and Fermi arc surface states in real materials.
Project description:Topological materials have attracted considerable experimental and theoretical attention. They exhibit strong spin-orbit coupling both in the band structure (intrinsic) and in the impurity potentials (extrinsic), although the latter is often neglected. In this work, we discuss weak localization and antilocalization of massless Dirac fermions in topological insulators and massive Dirac fermions in Weyl semimetal thin films, taking into account both intrinsic and extrinsic spin-orbit interactions. The physics is governed by the complex interplay of the chiral spin texture, quasiparticle mass, and scalar and spin-orbit scattering. We demonstrate that terms linear in the extrinsic spin-orbit scattering are generally present in the Bloch and momentum relaxation times in all topological materials, and the correction to the diffusion constant is linear in the strength of the extrinsic spin-orbit. In topological insulators, which have zero quasiparticle mass, the terms linear in the impurity spin-orbit coupling lead to an observable density dependence in the weak antilocalization correction. They produce substantial qualitative modifications to the magnetoconductivity, differing greatly from the conventional Hikami-Larkin-Nagaoka formula traditionally used in experimental fits, which predicts a crossover from weak localization to antilocalization as a function of the extrinsic spin-orbit strength. In contrast, our analysis reveals that topological insulators always exhibit weak antilocalization. In Weyl semimetal thin films having intermediate to large values of the quasiparticle mass, we show that extrinsic spin-orbit scattering strongly affects the boundary of the weak localization to antilocalization transition. We produce a complete phase diagram for this transition as a function of the mass and spin-orbit scattering strength. Throughout the paper, we discuss implications for experimental work, and, at the end, we provide a brief comparison with transition metal dichalcogenides.