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Title: Bipolar Conduction as the Possible Origin of the Electronic Transition in Pentatellurides: Metallic vs Semiconducting Behavior

The pentatellurides ZrTe 5 and HfTe 5 are layered compounds with one-dimensional transition-metal chains that show a not-yet-understood temperature-dependent transition in transport properties as well as recently discovered properties suggesting topological semimetallic behavior. Here, we report magnetotransport properties for two kinds of ZrTe 5 single crystals grown with the chemical vapor transport (CVT) and the flux method (Flux), respectively. They show distinct transport properties at zero field: The CVT crystal displays a metallic behavior with a pronounced resistance peak and a sudden sign reversal in thermopower at approximately 130 K, consistent with previous observations of the electronic transition; in striking contrast, the Flux crystal exhibits a semiconducting-like behavior at low temperatures and a positive thermopower over the whole temperature range. For both samples, strong effects on the transport properties are observed when the magnetic field is applied along the orthorhombic b and c axes, i.e., perpendicular to the chain direction. Refinements on the single-crystal x-ray diffraction and the measurements of energy dispersive spectroscopy reveal the presence of noticeable Te vacancies in the CVT samples, while the Flux samples are close to the stoichiometry. Analyses on the magnetotransport properties confirm that the carrier densities of the CVT sample are about two orders higher than those of the Flux sample. Our results thus indicate that the widely observed anomalous transport behaviors in pentatellurides actually take place in the Te-deficient samples. For the stoichiometric pentatellurides, our electronic structure calculations show narrow-gap semiconducting behavior, with different transport anisotropies for holes and electrons. For the degenerately doped n -type samples, our transport calculations can result in a resistivity peak and crossover in thermopower from negative to positive at temperatures close to those observed experimentally due to a combination of bipolar effects and different anisotropies of electrons and holes. Our present work resolves the long-standing puzzle regarding the anomalous transport behaviors of pentatellurides, as well as the electronic structure in favor of a semiconducting state.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [1]
  1. Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing (China). Beijing National Lab. for Condensed Matter Physics. Inst. of Physics; Univ. of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing (China). School of Physical Sciences
  2. Univ. of Missouri, Columbia, MO (United States). Dept. of Physics and Astronomy
  3. Nanjing Univ. (China). Research Inst. of Superconductor Electronics
  4. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Materials Science and Technology Division
  5. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Materials Science and Technology Division; Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States). Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725; SC0014607; GBMF4416; 2018YFA0305700; 2014CB921500; 11574377; QYZDB-SSW-SLH013; XDB07020100
Published Article
Journal Name:
Physical Review. X
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 8; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 2160-3308
American Physical Society
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Univ. of Missouri, Columbia, MO (United States); Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States); Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing (China); Nanjing Univ. (China)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22); Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (United States); National Key R&D Program of China; National Natural Science Foundation of China (NNSFC); Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; topological materials; 4-terminal techniques; energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy; methods in transport
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1460189