Topological Fermi-arc surface resonances in bcc iron

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.

Published in:
Physical Review B, 102, 3, 035419
Jul 14 2020

 Record created 2020-07-26, last modified 2020-07-27

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