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Nat Commun. 2016 Aug 12;7:12516. doi: 10.1038/ncomms12516.

Zeeman splitting and dynamical mass generation in Dirac semimetal ZrTe5.

Liu Y1,2,3, Yuan X1,2,3, Zhang C1,2,3, Jin Z4, Narayan A5,6, Luo C7, Chen Z8, Yang L8, Zou J8,9, Wu X7, Sanvito S5, Xia Z4, Li L4, Wang Z10,11, Xiu F1,2,3.

Author information

State Key Laboratory of Surface Physics, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China.
Department of Physics, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China.
Collaborative Innovation Center of Advanced Microstructures, Nanjing 210093, China.
Wuhan National High Magnetic Field Center, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430074, China.
School of Physics, AMBER and CRANN Institute, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland.
Department of Physics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.
Shanghai Key Laboratory of Multidimensional Information Processing, Department of Electrical Engineering, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China.
Materials Engineering, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia.
Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia.
Institute for Advanced Study, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China.
Collaborative Innovation Center of Quantum Matter, Beijing 100871, China.


Dirac semimetals have attracted extensive attentions in recent years. It has been theoretically suggested that many-body interactions may drive exotic phase transitions, spontaneously generating a Dirac mass for the nominally massless Dirac electrons. So far, signature of interaction-driven transition has been lacking. In this work, we report high-magnetic-field transport measurements of the Dirac semimetal candidate ZrTe5. Owing to the large g factor in ZrTe5, the Zeeman splitting can be observed at magnetic field as low as 3 T. Most prominently, high pulsed magnetic field up to 60 T drives the system into the ultra-quantum limit, where we observe abrupt changes in the magnetoresistance, indicating field-induced phase transitions. This is interpreted as an interaction-induced spontaneous mass generation of the Dirac fermions, which bears resemblance to the dynamical mass generation of nucleons in high-energy physics. Our work establishes Dirac semimetals as ideal platforms for investigating emerging correlation effects in topological matters.

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