Large, non-saturating magnetoresistance in WTe2


Magnetoresistance is the change in a material’s electrical resistance in response to an applied magnetic field. Materials with large magnetoresistance have found use as magnetic sensors1, in magnetic memory2, and in hard drives3 at room temperature, and their rarity has motivated many fundamental studies in materials physics at low temperatures4. Here we report the observation of an extremely large positive magnetoresistance at low temperatures in the non-magnetic layered transition-metal dichalcogenide WTe2: 452,700 per cent at 4.5 kelvins in a magnetic field of 14.7 teslas, and 13 million per cent at 0.53 kelvins in a magnetic field of 60 teslas. In contrast with other materials, there is no saturation of the magnetoresistance value even at very high applied fields. Determination of the origin and consequences of this effect, and the fabrication of thin films, nanostructures and devices based on the extremely large positive magnetoresistance of WTe2, will represent a significant new direction in the study of magnetoresistivity.

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Figure 1: Structural considerations.
Figure 2: The temperature and field dependence of the XMR in WTe2, for I parallel to a and H parallel to c.
Figure 3: Field and angular dependence of the XMR in WTe2.
Figure 4: The electronic structure of WTe2, calculated including spin orbit coupling.


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We thank T. Valla, I. Pletikosic, F. Balakirev, R. McDonald and J. Betts for discussions, and E. Tutuc for inquiring about WTe2. This research was supported by the Army Research Office, grants W911NF-12-1-0461 and W911NF-11-1-0379, and the NSF MRSEC Program Grant DMR-0819860. The National Magnet Laboratory is supported by the National Science Foundation Cooperative Agreement no. DMR-1157490, the State of Florida, and the US Department of Energy; this work was supported by the US Department of Energy’s Basic Energy Sciences (DOE BES) project ‘Science at 100 Tesla’. The electron microscopy study at Brookhaven National Laboratory was supported by the DOE BES, by the Materials Sciences and Engineering Division under contract DE-AC02-98CH10886, and through the use of the Center for Functional Nanomaterials.

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M.N.A. was the lead researcher. M.N.A. and S.F. grew crystals and measured resistivities with N.H. J.X., T.L. and M.H. measured the detailed resistivity behaviour. Q.D.G. and L.S. calculated the electronic structure. J.T. performed the electron microscopy characterization. N.P.O. and R.J.C. supervised the research. All authors contributed to writing the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Mazhar N. Ali.

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Extended data figures and tables

Extended Data Figure 1 Simulation of the resonance criterion for non-saturating MR in semimetals.

The MR is sharply peaked at a ratio of holes to electrons of 1:1, even when their mobilities are not equal, and the MR continues to increase to high applied fields with no saturation.

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Ali, M., Xiong, J., Flynn, S. et al. Large, non-saturating magnetoresistance in WTe2. Nature 514, 205–208 (2014).

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