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Title: Observation of the chiral magnetic effect in ZrTe₅

The chiral magnetic effect is the generation of electric current induced by chirality imbalance in the presence of magnetic field. It is a macroscopic manifestation of the quantum anomaly in relativistic field theory of chiral fermions (massless spin 1/2 particles with a definite projection of spin on momentum) – a dramatic phenomenon arising from a collective motion of particles and antiparticles in the Dirac sea. The recent discovery of Dirac semimetals with chiral quasi-particles opens a fascinating possibility to study this phenomenon in condensed matter experiments. Here we report on the first observation of chiral magnetic effect through the measurement of magneto-transport in zirconium pentatelluride, ZrTe₅. Our angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy experiments show that this material’s electronic structure is consistent with a 3D Dirac semimetal. We observe a large negative magnetoresistance when magnetic field is parallel with the current. The measured quadratic field dependence of the magnetoconductance is a clear indication of the chiral magnetic effect. Furthermore, the observed phenomenon stems from the effective transmutation of Dirac semimetal into a Weyl semimetal induced by the parallel electric and magnetic fields that represent a topologically nontrivial gauge field background.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
  2. Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States); Stony Brook Univ., Stony Brook, NY (United States)
  3. Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States); Princeton Univ., Princeton, NJ (United States)
  4. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
BNL-107404-2015-JA; BNL-112484-2016-JA
Journal ID: ISSN 1745-2473; R&D Project: PO016; PO010; KC0202020; KC0201060
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Physics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 6; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1745-2473
Nature Publishing Group (NPG)
Research Org:
Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
75 CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS, SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AND SUPERFLUIDITY; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; electronic properties and materials; theoretical nuclear physics; theoretical particle physics; theoretical physics
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1303010