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Universal optical conductivity of a disordered Weyl semimetal

TitleUniversal optical conductivity of a disordered Weyl semimetal
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsB. Roy, V. Juricic, and S. Das Sarma
Date PublishedAUG 30

Topological Weyl semimetals, besides manifesting chiral anomaly, can also accommodate a disorder-driven unconventional quantum phase transition into a metallic phase. A fundamentally and practically important question in this regard concerns an experimentally measurable quantity that can clearly distinguish these two phases. We show that the optical conductivity while serving this purpose can also play the role of a bonafide order parameter across such disorder-driven semimetal-metal quantum phase transition by virtue of displaying distinct scaling behavior in the semimetallic and metallic phases, as well as inside the quantum critical fan supporting a non-Fermi liquid. We demonstrate that the correction to the dielectric constant and optical conductivity in a dirty Weyl semimetal due to weak disorder is independent of the actual nature of point-like impurity scatterers. Therefore, optical conductivity can be used as an experimentally measurable quantity to study the critical properties and to pin the universality class of the disorder-driven quantum phase transition in Weyl semimetals.