A light-induced phononic symmetry switch and giant dissipationless topological photocurrent in ZrTe5

Academic Article


  • Dissipationless currents from topologically protected states are promising for disorder-tolerant electronics and quantum computation. Here, we photogenerate giant anisotropic terahertz nonlinear currents with vanishing scattering, driven by laser-induced coherent phonons of broken inversion symmetry in a centrosymmetric Dirac material ZrTe5. Our work suggests that this phononic terahertz symmetry switching leads to formation of Weyl points, whose chirality manifests in a transverse, helicity-dependent current, orthogonal to the dynamical inversion symmetry breaking axis, via circular photogalvanic effect. The temperature-dependent topological photocurrent exhibits several distinct features: Berry curvature dominance, particle–hole reversal near conical points and chirality protection that is responsible for an exceptional ballistic transport length of ~10 μm. These results, together with first-principles modelling, indicate two pairs of Weyl points dynamically created by B1u phonons of broken inversion symmetry. Such phononic terahertz control breaks ground for coherent manipulation of Weyl nodes and robust quantum transport without application of static electric or magnetic fields.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Nature Materials  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Luo L; Cheng D; Song B; Wang LL; Vaswani C; Lozano PM; Gu G; Huang C; Kim RHJ; Liu Z
  • Start Page

  • 329
  • End Page

  • 334
  • Volume

  • 20
  • Issue

  • 3