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Large Topological Hall Effect and Spiral Magnetic Order in the Weyl Semimetal SmAlSi

by Adam A Aczel
Publication Type
Journal Name
Physical Review X
Publication Date
Page Numbers
011035 to 9

Weyl electrons are intensely studied due to novel charge transport phenomena such as chiral anomaly, Fermi arcs, and photogalvanic effect. Recent theoretical works suggest that Weyl electrons can also participate in magnetic interactions, and the Weyl-mediated indirect exchange coupling between local moments is proposed as a new mechanism to induce spiral magnetic ordering by involving chiral Weyl electrons. Here, we present evidence of Weyl-mediated spiral magnetism in SmAlSi from neutron diffraction, transport, and thermodynamic data. We show that the spiral order in SmAlSi results from the nesting between topologically nontrivial Fermi pockets and weak magnetocrystalline anisotropy, unlike related materials (Ce,Pr,Nd)AlSi, where a strong anisotropy prevents the spins from freely rotating. We map the magnetic phase diagram of SmAlSi and reveal an A phase where topological magnetic excitations may exist. Within the A phase, we find a large topological Hall effect whose variation with the magnetic field direction suggests a dominant helical instead of cycloidal character, as theoretically predicted for the Weyl-induced spiral order.