Do the surface Fermi arcs in Weyl semimetals survive disorder?

Justin H. Wilson, J. H. Pixley, David A. Huse, Gil Refael, S. Das Sarma

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35 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number235108
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jun 7 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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