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Publication# Topological Fermi-arc surface resonances in bcc iron

Abstract

The topological classification of matter has been extended to include semimetallic phases characterized by the presence of topologically protected band degeneracies. In Weyl semimetals, the foundational gapless topological phase, chiral degeneracies are isolated near the Fermi level and give rise to the Fermi-arc surface states. However, it is now recognized that chiral degeneracies are ubiquitous in the band structures of systems with broken spatial inversion (P) or time-reversal (T) symmetry. This leads to a broadly defined notion of topological metals, which implies the presence of disconnected Fermi surface sheets characterized by nonzero Chern numbers inherited from the enclosed chiral degeneracies. Here, we address the possibility of experimentally observing surface-related signatures of chiral degeneracies in metals. As a representative system we choose bcc iron, a well-studied archetypal ferromagnetic metal with two nontrivial electron pockets. We find that the (110) surface presents arclike resonances attached to the topologically nontrivial electron pockets. These Fermi-arc resonances are due to two different chiral degeneracies, a type-I elementary Weyl point and a type-II composite (Chern numbers +/- 2) Weyl point, located at slightly different energies close to the Fermi level. We further show that these surface resonances can be controlled by changing the orientation of magnetization, eventually being eliminated following a topological phase transition. Our study thus shows that the intricate Fermi-arc features can be observed in materials as simple as ferromagnetic iron and are possibly very common in polar and magnetic materials broadly speaking. Our study also provides methodological guidelines to identifying Fermi-arc surface states and resonances, establishing their topological origin and designing control protocols.

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Topological order

In physics, topological order is a kind of order in the zero-temperature phase of matter (also known as quantum matter). Macroscopically, topological order is defined and described by robust ground state degeneracy and quantized non-Abelian geometric phases of degenerate ground states. Microscopically, topological orders correspond to patterns of long-range quantum entanglement. States with different topological orders (or different patterns of long range entanglements) cannot change into each other without a phase transition.

Weyl semimetal

Weyl fermions are massless chiral fermions embodying the mathematical concept of a Weyl spinor. Weyl spinors in turn play an important role in quantum field theory and the Standard Model, where they are a building block for fermions in quantum field theory. Weyl spinors are a solution to the Dirac equation derived by Hermann Weyl, called the Weyl equation. For example, one-half of a charged Dirac fermion of a definite chirality is a Weyl fermion. Weyl fermions may be realized as emergent quasiparticles in a low-energy condensed matter system.

Topological insulator

A topological insulator is a material whose interior behaves as an electrical insulator while its surface behaves as an electrical conductor, meaning that electrons can only move along the surface of the material. A topological insulator is an insulator for the same reason a "trivial" (ordinary) insulator is: there exists an energy gap between the valence and conduction bands of the material. But in a topological insulator, these bands are, in an informal sense, "twisted", relative to a trivial insulator.

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