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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Oct 16;115(42):10570-10575. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1808747115. Epub 2018 Oct 3.

Nonsaturating large magnetoresistance in semimetals.

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Department of Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309.
Division of Physics and Applied Physics, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 637371.
Center for Theory of Quantum Matter, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309.
Department of Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309;
Center for Experiments on Quantum Materials, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309.


The rapidly expanding class of quantum materials known as topological semimetals (TSMs) displays unique transport properties, including a striking dependence of resistivity on applied magnetic field, that are of great interest for both scientific and technological reasons. So far, many possible sources of extraordinarily large nonsaturating magnetoresistance have been proposed. However, experimental signatures that can identify or discern the dominant mechanism and connect to available theories are scarce. Here we present the magnetic susceptibility (χ), the tangent of the Hall angle ([Formula: see text]), along with magnetoresistance in four different nonmagnetic semimetals with high mobilities, NbP, TaP, NbSb2, and TaSb2, all of which exhibit nonsaturating large magnetoresistance (MR). We find that the distinctly different temperature dependences, [Formula: see text], and the values of [Formula: see text] in phosphides and antimonates serve as empirical criteria to sort the MR from different origins: NbP and TaP are uncompensated semimetals with linear dispersion, in which the nonsaturating magnetoresistance arises due to guiding center motion, while NbSb2 and TaSb2 are compensated semimetals, with a magnetoresistance emerging from nearly perfect charge compensation of two quadratic bands. Our results illustrate how a combination of magnetotransport and susceptibility measurements may be used to categorize the increasingly ubiquitous nonsaturating large magnetoresistance in TSMs.


Weyl semimetals; magnetic susceptibility; nonsaturating magnetoresistance; topological semimetals

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