The BaAl4 prototype crystal structure is the most populous of all structure types, and is the building block for a diverse set of sub-structures including the famous ThCr2Si2 family that hosts high-temperature superconductivity and numerous magnetic and strongly correlated electron systems. The MA4 family of materials (M = Sr, Ba, Eu; A = Al, Ga, In) themselves present an intriguing set of ground states including charge and spin orders, but have largely been considered as uninteresting metals. We predict the exemplary compound BaAl4 to harbor a three-dimensional Dirac spectrum with non-trivial topology and possible nodal lines crossing the Brillouin zone, wherein one pair of semi-Dirac points with linear dispersion along the kz direction and quadratic dispersion along the kx/ky direction resides on the rotational axis with C4v point group symmetry. An extremely large, unsaturating positive magnetoresistance in BaAl4 despite an uncompensated band structure is revealed, and quantum oscillations and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy measurements confirm the predicted multiband semimetal structure with pockets of Dirac holes and a Van Hove singularity (VHS) remarkably consistent with the theoretical prediction. We thus present BaAl4 as a topological semimetal, casting its prototype status into a role as a building block for a vast array of topological materials.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics