Type-II Weyl semimetals

Alexey A. Soluyanov, Dominik Gresch, Zhijun Wang, Quansheng Wu, Matthias Troyer, Xi Dai, B. Andrei Bernevig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1130 Scopus citations

Abstract

Fermions - elementary particles such as electrons - are classified as Dirac, Majorana or Weyl. Majorana and Weyl fermions had not been observed experimentally until the recent discovery of condensed matter systems such as topological superconductors and semimetals, in which they arise as low-energy excitations. Here we propose the existence of a previously overlooked type of Weyl fermion that emerges at the boundary between electron and hole pockets in a new phase of matter. This particle was missed by Weyl because it breaks the stringent Lorentz symmetry in high-energy physics. Lorentz invariance, however, is not present in condensed matter physics, and by generalizing the Dirac equation, we find the new type of Weyl fermion. In particular, whereas Weyl semimetals - materials hosting Weyl fermions - were previously thought to have standard Weyl points with a point-like Fermi surface (which we refer to as type-I), we discover a type-II Weyl point, which is still a protected crossing, but appears at the contact of electron and hole pockets in type-II Weyl semimetals. We predict that WTe 2 is an example of a topological semimetal hosting the new particle as a low-energy excitation around such a type-II Weyl point. The existence of type-II Weyl points in WTe 2 means that many of its physical properties are very different to those of standard Weyl semimetals with point-like Fermi surfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-498
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume527
Issue number7579
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 25 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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