Unconventional Photocurrents from Surface Fermi Arcs in Topological Chiral Semimetals

Guoqing Chang, Jia Xin Yin, Titus Neupert, Daniel S. Sanchez, Ilya Belopolski, Songtian S. Zhang, Tyler A. Cochran, Zǐjiā Chéng, Ming Chien Hsu, Shin Ming Huang, Biao Lian, Su Yang Xu, Hsin Lin, M. Zahid Hasan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The nonlinear optical responses from topological semimetals are crucial in both understanding the fundamental properties of quantum materials and designing next-generation light sensors or solar cells. However, previous work focused on the optical effects from bulk states only, disregarding the responses from topological surface states. In this Letter, we propose a new surface-only photocurrent response from chiral Fermi arcs. Using the ideal topological chiral semimetal RhSi as a representative, we quantitatively compute the photogalvanic currents from Fermi arcs on different surfaces. By rigorous crystal symmetry analysis, we demonstrate that Fermi arc photogalvanic currents can be perpendicular to the bulk injection currents regardless of the choice of materials surface. We then generalize this finding to other cubic chiral space groups and predict material candidates. Our theory reveals a powerful notion where common crystalline symmetry can be used to completely disentangle bulk and surface optical responses in many conducting material families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number166404
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number16
StatePublished - Apr 24 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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