Response Properties of Axion Insulators and Weyl Semimetals Driven by Screw Dislocations and Dynamical Axion Strings

16 May 2016  ·  You Yizhi, Cho Gil Young, Hughes Taylor L. ·

In this paper, we investigate the theory of dynamical axion string emerging from chiral symmetry breaking in three-dimensional Weyl semimetals. The chiral symmetry is spontaneously broken by a charge density wave (CDW) order which opens an energy gap and converts the Weyl semimetal into an axion insulator... Indeed, the phase fluctuations of the CDW order parameter act as a dynamical axion field $\theta({\vec{x}},t)$ and couples to electromagnetic field via $\mathcal{L}_{\theta}=\frac{\theta(\vec{x},t)}{32\pi^2} \epsilon^{\sigma\tau\nu\mu} F_{\sigma\tau} F_{\nu\mu}.$ Additionally, when the axion insulator is coupled to the background geometry/strain fields via torsional defects, i.e., screw dislocations, there is a novel interplay between the crystal dislocations and dynamical axion strings (i.e., vortices of the CDW order parameter). For example, the screw dislocation traps axial charge, and there is a Berry phase accumulation when an axion string is braided with a screw dislocation. In addition, a cubic coupling between the axial current and the geometry fields is non-vanishing and indicates a Berry phase accumulation during a particular three-loop braiding procedure where a dislocation loop is braided with another dislocation and they are both threaded by an axion string. We also observe a chiral magnetic effect induced by a screw dislocation density in the absence of chemical potential imbalance between Weyl points and describe an additional chiral geometric effect and a geometric Witten effect. read more

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Strongly Correlated Electrons High Energy Physics - Theory