Origin of the quasi-quantized Hall effect in ZrTe$_5$

S. Galeski, T. Ehmcke, R. Wawrzyńczak, P. M. Lozano, K. Cho, A. Sharma, S. Das, F. Küster, P. Sessi, M. Brando, R. Küchler, A. Markou, M. König, P. Swekis, C. Felser, Y. Sassa, Q. Li, G. Gu, M. Zimmermann, O. Ivashko, D. Gorbunov, S. Zherlitsyn, T. Förster, S. Parkin, J. Wosnitza, T. Meng, and J. Gooth

Abstract

The quantum Hall effect (QHE) is traditionally considered to be a purely two-dimensional (2D) phenomenon. Recently, however, a three-dimensional (3D) version of the QHE was reported in the Dirac semimetal ZrTe5. It was proposed to arise from a magnetic-field-driven Fermi surface instability, transforming the original 3D electron system into a stack of 2D sheets. Here, we report thermodynamic, spectroscopic, thermoelectric and charge transport measurements on such ZrTe5 samples. The measured properties: magnetization, ultrasound propagation, scanning tunneling spectroscopy, and Raman spectroscopy, show no signatures of a Fermi surface instability, consistent with in-field single crystal X-ray diffraction. Instead, a direct comparison of the experimental data with linear response calculations based on an effective 3D Dirac Hamiltonian suggests that the quasi-quantization of the observed Hall response emerges from the interplay of the intrinsic properties of the ZrTe$_5$ electronic structure and its Dirac-type semi-metallic character.

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