Metallic interface emerging at magnetic domain wall of antiferromagnetic insulator: Fate of extinct weyl electrons

Youhei Yamaji, Masatoshi Imada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


Topological insulators, in contrast to ordinary semiconductors, accompany protected metallic surfaces described by Dirac-type fermions. Here, we theoretically show that another emergent two-dimensional metal embedded in the bulk insulator is realized at a magnetic domain wall. The domain wall has long been studied as an ingredient of both old-fashioned and leading-edge spintronics. The domain wall here, as an interface of seemingly trivial antiferromagnetic insulators, emergently realizes a functional interface preserved by zero modes with robust two-dimensional Fermi surfaces, where pyrochlore iridium oxides proposed to host the condensed-matter realization of Weyl fermions offer such examples at low temperatures. The existence of in-gap states that are pinned at domain walls, theoretically resembling spin or charge solitons in polyacetylene, and protected as the edges of hidden one-dimensional weak Chern insulators characterized by a zero-dimensional class-A topological invariant, solves experimental puzzles observed in R2Ir2O7 with rare-earth elements R. The domain wall realizes a novel quantum confinement of electrons and embosses a net uniform magnetization that enables magnetic control of electronic interface transports beyond the semiconductor paradigm.

Original languageEnglish
Article number021035
JournalPhysical Review X
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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