Yaxian Wang⁺, Georgios Varnavides⁺, Ravishankar Sundararaman, Polina Anikeeva, Johannes Gooth, Claudia Felser, Prineha Narang
Posted on Publisher's version
Interactions of charge carriers with lattice vibrations, or phonons, play a critical role in unconventional electronic transport of metals and semimetals. Recent observations of phonon-mediated collective electron flow in bulk semimetals, termed electron hydrodynamics, present new opportunities in the search for strong electron-electron interactions in high carrier density materials. Here we present the general transport signatures of such a second-order scattering mechanism, along with analytical limits at the Eliashberg level of theory. We study electronic transport, using ab initio calculations, in finite-size channels of semimetallic ZrSiS and TaAs2 with and without topological band crossings, respectively. The order of magnitude separation between momentum-relaxing and momentum-conserving scattering length scales across a wide temperature range make both of them promising candidates for further experimental observation of electron hydrodynamics. More generally, our calculations suggest that the hydrodynamic transport regime does not, to first order, rely on the topological nature of the bands. Finally, we discuss general design principles guiding future search for hydrodynamic candidates, based on the analytical formulation and our ab initio predictions. We find that systems with strong electron-phonon interactions, reduced electronic phase space, and suppressed phonon-phonon scattering at temperatures of interest are likely to feature hydrodynamic electron transport. We predict that layered and/or anisotropic semimetals composed of half-filled d shells and light group V/VI elements with lower crystal symmetry are promising candidates to observe hydrodynamic phenomena in the future.