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Singular angular magnetoresistance in a magnetic nodal semimetal

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Science  26 Jul 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6451, pp. 377-381
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat0348

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Mind the angle

Interplay between real- and momentum-space properties of materials can lead to exotic phenomena. Suzuki et al. studied electrical transport in the presence of a magnetic field in cerium-aluminum-germanium, a Weyl semimetal that also harbors magnetism (see the Perspective by Hassinger and Meng). As they varied the orientation of the applied field, they noticed spikes of resistivity sharply centered around the high symmetry axes of the material. The spikes were a consequence of the small overlap of Fermi surfaces—which “live” in momentum space—on either side of magnetic domain walls, which occur in real space. This extreme angular sensitivity may be useful in practical applications.

Science, this issue p. 377; see also p. 324

Abstract

Transport coefficients of correlated electron systems are often useful for mapping hidden phases with distinct symmetries. Here we report a transport signature of spontaneous symmetry breaking in the magnetic Weyl semimetal cerium-aluminum-germanium (CeAlGe) system in the form of singular angular magnetoresistance (SAMR). This angular response exceeding 1000% per radian is confined along the high-symmetry axes with a full width at half maximum reaching less than 1° and is tunable via isoelectronic partial substitution of silicon for germanium. The SAMR phenomena is explained theoretically as a consequence of controllable high-resistance domain walls, arising from the breaking of magnetic point group symmetry strongly coupled to a nearly nodal electronic structure. This study indicates ingredients for engineering magnetic materials with high angular sensitivity by lattice and site symmetries.

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