Magnetoresistance from time-reversal symmetry breaking in topological materials

Jorrit C. de Boer, Denise P. Leusink, Alexander Brinkman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
74 Downloads (Pure)


Magnetotransport measurements are a popular way of characterizing the electronic structure of topological materials and often the resulting datasets cannot be described by the well-known Drude model due to large, non-parabolic contributions. In this work, we focus on the effects of magnetic fields on topological materials through a Zeeman term included in the model Hamiltonian. To this end, we re-evaluate the simplifications made in the derivations of the Drude model and pinpoint the scattering time and Fermi velocity as Zeeman-term dependent factors in the conductivity tensor. The driving mechanisms here are the aligment of spins along the magnetic field direction, which allows for backscattering, and a significant change to the Fermi velocity by the opening of a hybridization gap. After considering 2D and 3D Dirac states, as well as 2D Rashba surface states and the quasi-2D bulk states of 3D topological insulators, we find that the 2D Dirac states on the surfaces of 3D topological insulators produce magnetoresistance, that is significant enough to be noticable in experiments. As this magnetoresistance effect is strongly dependent on the spin-orbit energy, it can be used as a telltale sign of a Fermi energy located close to the Dirac point.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115021
JournalJournal of Physics Communications
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2019


  • Electronic transport
  • Magnetoresistance
  • Topology


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