Frontiers of Physics

, 12:127205 | Cite as

Negative magnetoresistance in Weyl semimetals NbAs and NbP: Intrinsic chiral anomaly and extrinsic effects

  • Yupeng Li
  • Zhen Wang
  • Pengshan Li
  • Xiaojun Yang
  • Zhixuan Shen
  • Feng Sheng
  • Xiaodong Li
  • Yunhao Lu
  • Yi Zheng
  • Zhu-An Xu
Review Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Recent Progress on Weyl Semimetals


Chiral anomaly-induced negative magnetoresistance (NMR) has been widely used as critical transport evidence for the existence of Weyl fermions in topological semimetals. In this mini-review, we discuss the general observation of NMR phenomena in non-centrosymmetric NbP and NbAs. We show that NMR can arise from the intrinsic chiral anomaly of Weyl fermions and/or extrinsic effects, such as the superimposition of Hall signals; field-dependent inhomogeneous current flow in the bulk, i.e., current jetting; and weak localization (WL) of coexistent trivial carriers. The WL-controlled NMR is heavily dependent on sample quality and is characterized by a pronounced crossover from positive to negative MR growth at elevated temperatures, resulting from the competition between the phase coherence time and the spin-orbital scattering constant of the bulk trivial pockets. Thus, the correlation between the NMR and the chiral anomaly need to be scrutinized without the support of complimentary techniques. Because of the lifting of spin degeneracy, the spin orientations of Weyl fermions are either parallel or antiparallel to the momentum, which is a unique physical property known as helicity. The conservation of helicity provides strong protection for the transport of Weyl fermions, which can only be effectively scattered by magnetic impurities. Chemical doping with magnetic and non-magnetic impurities is thus more convincing than the NMR method for detecting the existence of Weyl fermions.


Weyl semimetals chiral anomaly negative magnetoresistance extrinsic effects 



This work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (Grant No. 2014CB921203), the National Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 11190023, U1332209, 11374009, 61574123, and 11574264), MOE of China (Grant No. 2015KF07), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of China, and the National Key R&D Program of the MOST of China (Grant No. 2016YFA0300204). The in-situ high-pressure angle-dispersive X-ray diffraction (ADXRD) measurement was performed at the 4W2 beamline of the Beijing Synchrotron Radiation Facility (BSRF). Y.Z. acknowledges the start funding support from the Thousand Talents Plan.


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yupeng Li
    • 1
  • Zhen Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pengshan Li
    • 3
  • Xiaojun Yang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhixuan Shen
    • 1
  • Feng Sheng
    • 1
  • Xiaodong Li
    • 3
  • Yunhao Lu
    • 2
  • Yi Zheng
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  • Zhu-An Xu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina
  2. 2.State Key Lab of Silicon MaterialsZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina
  3. 3.Institute of High Energy PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Zhejiang California International NanoSystems InstituteZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina
  5. 5.Collaborative Innovation Centre of Advanced MicrostructuresNanjingChina

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