Möbius Kondo insulators

Po-Yao Chang, Onur Erten, Piers Coleman

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Heavy fermion materials have recently attracted attention for their potential to combine topological protection with strongly correlated electron physics. To date, the ideas of topological protection have been restricted to the heavy fermion or ‘Kondo’ insulators with the simplest point-group symmetries. Here we argue that the presence of nonsymmorphic crystal symmetries in many heavy fermion materials opens up a new family of topologically protected heavy electron systems. Re-examination of archival resistivity measurements in the nonsymmorphic heavy fermion insulators Ce3Bi4Pt3 and CeNiSn reveals the presence of a low-temperature conductivity plateau, making them candidate members of the new class of material. We illustrate our ideas with a specific model for CeNiSn, showing how glide symmetries generate surface states with a novel Möbius braiding that can be detected by ARPES or non-local conductivity measurements. One of the interesting effects of strong correlation is the development of partially localization or ‘Kondo breakdown’ on the surfaces, which transforms Möbius surface states into quasi-one-dimensional conductors, with the potential for novel electronic phase transitions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)794-798
Number of pages5
JournalNature Physics
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2017

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