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Researchers Discover Dirac Semimetal Phase in Layered Material ZrTe5

Mar 25, 2016 | By ZHENG Guolin

Viewed as three-dimensional (3D) analogue of graphene and with linear energy dispersion in bulk, Dirac semimetals have been intensively studied recently due to their potential impact on information technology. Several materials such as Cd3As2 are predicated to be Dirac semimetal, while most of them are not layered materials which are hard for Nano device fabrication and further application.

The layered material ZrTe5 has been demonstrated to be a Dirac semimetal, according to recent ARPES and magneto-infrared spectroscopy experiments. While a direct transport evidence for Dirac semimetal phase in ZrTe5 is still lacking, especially the observation of the nontrivial Berry phase in this material.

Using the Steady High Magnetic Field Facilities (SHMFF) with a magnetic field up to 31T and temperature down to 0.3K, the group led by TIAN Mingliang, High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CHMFL), carries out a detailed transport study on ZrTe5 nanoribbons and gives a clear transport evidence for Dirac semimetal phase in ZrTe5.

In this work, a negative magnetoresistance (NMR) is discovered while the magnetic field is parallel to the current. Tilting the magnetic field away from the current direction, the NMR is sharply suppressed. Changing the current direction, the NMR can also be identified while magnetic field is parallel to the current. Such an NMR is called “chiral magnetic effect”----the hallmark of 3D Dirac semimetal. Besides, a strong quantum oscillation is revealed in this material and a nontrivial Berry phase is demonstrated after a detailed analysis of the quantum oscillation. A clear Landau level splitting is also demonstrated in ZrTe5 under high magnetic field, revealing a possible transformation of ZrTe5 from 3D Dirac semimetal to Weyl semimetal by breaking the time reversal symmetry.

This work has been published on Physical Review. B with the title Transport evidence for three-dimensional Dirac semimetal phase in ZrTe5.

The observed chiral magnetic effect for different current and magnetic field direction. (Image by ZHENG Guolin)

The Landau level splitting under high magnetic field. (Image by ZHENG Guolin)

Contact:

TIAN Mingliang, Ph.D. Principal Investigator

High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Chinese Academy of Sciences

350 Shushanhu Road, Hefei, Anhui, P. R. China, 230031

Email: tianml@hmfl.ac.cn

Tel: 0551-65595679

 

 
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