Nonsymmorphic symmetries like screws and glides produce electron band touchings, obstructing the formation of a band insulator and leading, instead, to metals or nodal semimetals even when the number of electrons in the unit cell is an even integer. Here, we calculate the electron fillings compatible with being a band insulator for all 230 space groups, for noninteracting electrons with time-reversal symmetry. Our bounds are tight - that is, we can rigorously eliminate band insulators at any forbidden filling and produce explicit models for all allowed fillings - and stronger than those recently established for interacting systems. These results provide simple criteria that should help guide the search for topological semimetals and, also, have implications for both the nature and stability of the resulting nodal Fermi surfaces.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)