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Helicity-dependent photocurrents in the chiral Weyl semimetal RhSi

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Science Advances  15 Jul 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 29, eaba0509
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba0509


Weyl semimetals are crystals in which electron bands cross at isolated points in momentum space. Associated with each crossing point (or Weyl node) is a topological invariant known as the Berry monopole charge. The circular photogalvanic effect (CPGE), whereby circular polarized light generates a helicity-dependent photocurrent, is a notable example of a macroscopic property that emerges directly from the topology of the Weyl semimetal band structure. Recently, it was predicted that the amplitude of the CPGE associated with optical transitions near a Weyl node is proportional to its monopole charge. In chiral Weyl systems, nodes of opposite charge are nondegenerate, opening a window of wavelengths where the CPGE resulting from uncompensated Berry charge can emerge. Here, we report measurements of CPGE in the chiral Weyl semimetal RhSi, revealing a CPGE response in an energy window that closes at 0.65 eV, in agreement with the predictions of density functional theory.

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