Discovery of Lorentz-violating type II Weyl fermions in LaAlGe

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Science Advances  02 Jun 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 6, e1603266
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1603266

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In quantum field theory, Weyl fermions are relativistic particles that travel at the speed of light and strictly obey the celebrated Lorentz symmetry. Their low-energy condensed matter analogs are Weyl semimetals, which are conductors whose electronic excitations mimic the Weyl fermion equation of motion. Although the traditional (type I) emergent Weyl fermions observed in TaAs still approximately respect Lorentz symmetry, recently, the so-called type II Weyl semimetal has been proposed, where the emergent Weyl quasiparticles break the Lorentz symmetry so strongly that they cannot be smoothly connected to Lorentz symmetric Weyl particles. Despite some evidence of nontrivial surface states, the direct observation of the type II bulk Weyl fermions remains elusive. We present the direct observation of the type II Weyl fermions in crystalline solid lanthanum aluminum germanide (LaAlGe) based on our photoemission data alone, without reliance on band structure calculations. Moreover, our systematic data agree with the theoretical calculations, providing further support on our experimental results.

  • Topological Materials
  • Weyl semimetals

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