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A stable three-dimensional topological Dirac semimetal Cd3As2

Abstract

Three-dimensional (3D) topological Dirac semimetals (TDSs) are a recently proposed state of quantum matter1,2,3,4,5,6 that have attracted increasing attention in physics and materials science. A 3D TDS is not only a bulk analogue of graphene; it also exhibits non-trivial topology in its electronic structure that shares similarities with topological insulators. Moreover, a TDS can potentially be driven into other exotic phases (such as Weyl semimetals1,7, axion insulators1,4 and topological superconductors8,9), making it a unique parent compound for the study of these states and the phase transitions between them. Here, by performing angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy, we directly observe a pair of 3D Dirac fermions in Cd3As2, proving that it is a model 3D TDS. Compared with other 3D TDSs, for example, β-cristobalite BiO2 (ref. 3) and Na3Bi (refs 4, 5), Cd3As2 is stable and has much higher Fermi velocities. Furthermore, by in situ doping we have been able to tune its Fermi energy, making it a flexible platform for exploring exotic physical phenomena.

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Figure 1: Crystal structure of Cd3As2 and Fermi surface measured by ARPES.
Figure 2: General electronic structure of Cd3As2 with strong kz dependence.
Figure 3: Projections of the 3D Dirac fermions into (kx,ky,E) and (ky,kz,E) space.
Figure 4: Dispersion of the 3D Dirac fermion along all three momentum directions and EF tuning by alkaline surface doping.

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Acknowledgements

Y.L.C. and B.Z. acknowledge the support from the EPSRC (UK) grant EP/K04074X/1 and a DARPA (US) MESO project (no. N66001-11-1-4105). Z.K.L. and Z.X.S. acknowledge support from the Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Science (contract DE-AC02-76SF00515). The Advanced Light Source is operated by the Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Science (contract DE-AC02-05CH11231). Z.F., X.D. and H.M.W. acknowledge the support by the NSF of China, the National Basic Research Program of China, and the International Science and Technology Cooperation Program of China. J.J. and D.L.F. acknowledge the support by the NSF of China, the National Basic Research Program of China under grant no. 2012CB921402. J.J. acknowledges the support from the China Scholarship Council.

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Y.L.C. conceived the experiments. Y.L.C., Z.K.L., J.J. and B.Z. carried out ARPES measurements with the assistance of P.D., T.K., M.H. and S-K.M. D.P. synthesized and characterized bulk single crystals. Z.J.W. and H.M.W. performed ab initio calculations. All authors contributed to the scientific planning and discussions.

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Correspondence to Y. L. Chen.

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Liu, Z., Jiang, J., Zhou, B. et al. A stable three-dimensional topological Dirac semimetal Cd3As2. Nature Mater 13, 677–681 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat3990

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