BESSY II: Experimental verification of an exotic quantum phase in Au2Pb

The figure shows the measured energy-momentum relationship for Au<sub>2</sub>Pb. The linear behavior is evidence for a Dirac semimetal. In addition, a Lifshitz transition is observed: At temperatures 223 K and below, the electrons behave like positively charged particles, whereas at room temperature they behave like negatively charged ones.&nbsp;

The figure shows the measured energy-momentum relationship for Au2Pb. The linear behavior is evidence for a Dirac semimetal. In addition, a Lifshitz transition is observed: At temperatures 223 K and below, the electrons behave like positively charged particles, whereas at room temperature they behave like negatively charged ones.  © HZB

A team of HZB has investigated the electronic structure of  Au2Pb at BESSY II by angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy across a wide temperature range: The results are in accordance with the electronic structure of a three-dimensional topological Dirac semimetal, in agreement with theoretical calculations.

The experimental data unveil some very special features linked to a Lifshitz transition. The study broadens the range of currently known materials exhibiting three-dimensional Dirac phases, and the observed Lifshitz transition demonstrates a viable mechanism to switch the charge carrier type in electric transport without the need for external doping. Moreover, the material becomes interesting as candidate for the realization of a topological superconductor.

The study which includes theory from San Sebastian and synthesis from Princeton was highlighted as Editor's Suggestion in the journal Physical Review Letters.

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