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Do the surface Fermi arcs in Weyl semimetals survive disorder?

Wilson, Justin H. and Pixley, J. H. and Huse, David A. and Refael, Gil and Sarma, S. Das (2018) Do the surface Fermi arcs in Weyl semimetals survive disorder? Physical Review B, 97 (23). Art. No. 235108. ISSN 2469-9950. doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.97.235108.

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We theoretically study the topological robustness of the surface physics induced by Weyl Fermi-arc surface states in the presence of short-ranged quenched disorder and surface-bulk hybridization. This is investigated with numerically exact calculations on a lattice model exhibiting Weyl Fermi arcs. We find that the Fermi-arc surface states, in addition to having a finite lifetime from disorder broadening, hybridize with nonperturbative bulk rare states making them no longer bound to the surface (i.e., they lose their purely surface spectral character). Thus, we provide strong numerical evidence that the Weyl Fermi arcs are not topologically protected from disorder. Nonetheless, the surface chiral velocity is robust and survives in the presence of strong disorder, persisting all the way to the Anderson-localized phase by forming localized current loops that live within the localization length of the surface. Thus, the Weyl semimetal is not topologically robust to the presence of disorder, but the surface chiral velocity is.

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Wilson, Justin H.0000-0001-6903-0417
Additional Information:© 2018 American Physical Society. Received 15 April 2018; revised manuscript received 22 May 2018; published 7 June 2018. We thank Pallab Goswami, Mehdi Kargarian, Rahul Nandkishore, and Jay Sau for useful discussions. This work was performed in part at the Aspen Center for Physics (J.P. and G.R.), which is supported by National Science Foundation Grant PHY-1607611. The authors are grateful for support from the Air Force Office for Scientific Research (J.W.), the Laboratory for Physical Sciences (J. P. and S.D.-S.), the Packard Foundation (G.R.), and the IQIM an NSF-PFC (G.R.). The authors acknowledge the University of Maryland supercomputing resources (, the Beowulf cluster at the Department of Physics and Astronomy of Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey, and the Office of Advanced Research Computing (OARC) at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey ( for providing access to the Amarel cluster and associated research computing resources that have contributed to the results reported here.
Group:Institute for Quantum Information and Matter
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Air Force Office for Scientific Research (AFOSR)UNSPECIFIED
Laboratory for Physical SciencesUNSPECIFIED
David and Lucile Packard FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Institute for Quantum Information and Matter (IQIM)UNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:23
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180607-103545257
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:86880
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:07 Jun 2018 18:30
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 20:43

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