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Topological Semimetals

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I will describe our recent work on a new topological phase of matter: topological Weyl semimetal. This phase arises in three-dimensional (3D) materials, which are close to a critical point between an ordinary and a topological insulator. Breaking time-reversal symmetry in such materials, for example by doping with sufficient amount of magnetic impurities, leads to the formation of a Weyl semimetal phase, with two (or more) 3D Dirac nodes, separated in momentum space. Such a topological Weyl semimetal possesses chiral edge states and a finite Hall conductivity, proportional to the momentum-space separation of the Dirac nodes, in the absence of any external magnetic field. Weyl semimetal demonstrates a qualitatively different type of topological protection: the protection is provided not by the bulk band gap, as in topological insulators, but by the separation of gapless 3D Dirac nodes in momentum space. I will describe a simple way to engineer such materials using superlattice heterostructures, made of thin films of topological insulators.
References: arXiv:1110.1089; Phys. Rev. Lett. 107, 127205 (2011); Phys. Rev. B 83, 245428 (2011)."