Weyl semimetals from noncentrosymmetric topological insulators

Jianpeng Liu, David Vanderbilt

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141 Scopus citations


We study the problem of phase transitions from three-dimensional topological to normal insulators without inversion symmetry. In contrast with the conclusions of some previous work, we show that a Weyl semimetal always exists as an intermediate phase regardless of any constriant from lattice symmetries, although the interval of the critical region is sensitive to the choice of path in the parameter space and can be very narrow. We demonstrate this behavior by carrying out first-principles calculations on the noncentrosymmetric topological insulators LaBiTe3 and LuBiTe3 and the trivial insulator BiTeI. We find that a robust Weyl-semimetal phase exists in the solid solutions LaBi1-xSbxTe3 and LuBi1-xSbxTe3 for x≈38.5%-41.9% and x≈40.5%-45.1%, respectively. A low-energy effective model is also constructed to describe the critical behavior in these two materials. In BiTeI, a Weyl semimetal also appears with applied pressure, but only within a very small pressure range, which may explain why it has not been experimentally observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number155316
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number15
StatePublished - Oct 28 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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