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Probing the Chiral Anomaly with Nonlocal Transport in Three-Dimensional Topological Semimetals

Parameswaran, S. A. and Grover, T. and Abanin, D. A. and Pesin, D. A. and Vishwanath, A. (2014) Probing the Chiral Anomaly with Nonlocal Transport in Three-Dimensional Topological Semimetals. Physical Review X, 4 (3). Art. No. 031035. ISSN 2160-3308. doi:10.1103/PhysRevX.4.031035.

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Weyl semimetals are three-dimensional crystalline systems where pairs of bands touch at points in momentum space, termed Weyl nodes, that are characterized by a definite topological charge: the chirality. Consequently, they exhibit the Adler-Bell-Jackiw anomaly, which in this condensed-matter realization implies that the application of parallel electric (E) and magnetic (B) fields pumps electrons between nodes of opposite chirality at a rate proportional to E⋅B. We argue that this pumping is measurable via nonlocal transport experiments, in the limit of weak internode scattering. Specifically, we show that as a consequence of the anomaly, applying a local magnetic field parallel to an injected current induces a valley imbalance that diffuses over long distances. A probe magnetic field can then convert this imbalance into a measurable voltage drop far from source and drain. Such nonlocal transport vanishes when the injected current and magnetic field are orthogonal and therefore serves as a test of the chiral anomaly. We further demonstrate that a similar effect should also characterize Dirac semimetals—recently reported to have been observed in experiments—where the coexistence of a pair of Weyl nodes at a single point in the Brillouin zone is protected by a crystal symmetry. Since the nodes are analogous to valley degrees of freedom in semiconductors, the existence of the anomaly suggests that valley currents in three-dimensional topological semimetals can be controlled using electric fields, which has potential practical “valleytronic” applications.

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Additional Information:© 2014 American Physical Society. Received 14 September 2013; revised manuscript received 4 March 2014; published 2 September 2014. We thank L. Balents, J. H. Bardarson, A. Burkov, Y.-B. Kim, R. Ilan, N. P. Ong, and B. Z. Spivak for useful discussions on transport; F. de Juan, I. Kimchi, P. Dumitrescu, N. P. Ong, and especially A. Potter for conversations on Dirac semimetals; and an anonymous referee for comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. This work was supported in part by the Simons Foundation (S. A. P.); the NSF under Grant No. PHYS-1066293 and the hospitality of the Aspen Center for Physics (S. A. P. and D. A. P.); the Director, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Materials Sciences and Engineering Division, of the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231 (A. V.); and the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter, a NSF Physics Frontiers Center, with support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation through Grant No. GBMF1250 (D. A. P.).
Group:Institute for Quantum Information and Matter
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Simons FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-AC02-05CH11231
Institute for Quantum Information and Matter (IQIM)UNSPECIFIED
NSF Physics Frontiers CenterUNSPECIFIED
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationGBMF1250
Subject Keywords:Condensed Matter Physics
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140926-085233479
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Official Citation:Probing the Chiral Anomaly with Nonlocal Transport in Three-Dimensional Topological Semimetals S. A. Parameswaran, T. Grover, D. A. Abanin, D. A. Pesin, and A. Vishwanath Phys. Rev. X 4, 031035 (2014) – Published 2 September 2014
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:50048
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:26 Sep 2014 16:38
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 18:51

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