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Topological protection from exceptional points in Weyl and nodal-line semimetals

AuthorsGonzález Carmona, José CSIC ORCID; Molina, Rafael A. CSIC ORCID
Issue Date31-Jul-2017
PublisherAmerican Physical Society
CitationPhysical Review B 96: 045437 (2017)
AbstractWe investigate the topological protection of surface states in Weyl and nodal-line semimetals by characterizing them as evanescent states when the band structure is extended to complex momenta. We find in this way a sequence of exceptional points - that is, branch points with zero energy in the complex spectrum - allowing us to identify the set of surface states with complex momentum signaling the decay into the 3D semimetal. From this point of view, Weyl and nodal-line semimetals can be classified in two types depending on the way surface states decay. Type A semimetals have surface states with smaller penetration length and oscillating decay while type B semimetals have longer simple exponential decays. The difference between both types reflects in the way the branch cuts in the spectrum accommodate in the complex plane. The stability of the surface states stems in this approach from the complex structure that develops around the exceptional points, with a topological protection which is based on the fact that the branch cuts cannot be closed by small perturbations. We check this property when nodal-line semimetals are placed under circularly polarized light, where we observe that the exceptional points survive the effect of such a perturbation, though appropriate boundary conditions for zero-energy surface states cannot be satisfied in general due to the breakdown of time-reversal invariance by the radiation field.
Description12 pags., 11 figs.
Publisher version (URL)
Identifiersdoi: 10.1103/PhysRevB.96.045437
issn: 2469-9969
Appears in Collections:(CFMAC-IEM) Artículos

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