Physics

Imaging heavy Dirac fermions

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Science  06 Dec 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6470, pp. 1210-1211
DOI: 10.1126/science.366.6470.1210-f

Most topologically nontrivial materials discovered to date have negligible electron correlations. Strongly correlated topological materials are predicted to have a rich phenomenology; however, identifying such materials and proving their topological character has been tricky. This is particularly true of samarium hexaboride (SmB6), a compound that is theoretically expected to be a topological Kondo insulator, but the multitude of probes used to study it have yielded conflicting results. Pirie et al. applied scanning tunneling spectroscopy to the problem and found evidence of Dirac states with large effective masses, which is in agreement with theory. They were able to reproduce the results for multiple samples synthesized by two different growers.

Nat. Phys. 10.1038/s41567-019-0700-8 (2019).

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