Temperature dependence of the topological phase transition of BiTeI from first principles

A topological phase transition from a trivial insulator to a 2 topological insulator requires the bulk band gap to vanish. In the case of noncentrosymmetric materials, these phases are separated by a gapless Weyl semimetal phase. However, at finite temperature, the gap is affected by atomic motion, through electron-phonon interaction, and by thermal expansion of the lattice. As a consequence, the phase space of topologically nontrivial phases is affected by temperature. In this paper, the pressure and temperature dependence of the indirect band gap of BiTeI is investigated from first principles. We evaluate the contribution from both electron-phonon interaction and thermal expansion, and show that their combined effect drives the topological phase transition towards higher pressures with increasing temperature. Notably, we find that the sensitivity of both band extrema to pressure and topology for electron-phonon interaction differs significantly according to their leading orbital character. Our results indicate that the Weyl semimetal phase width is increased by temperature, having almost doubled by 100 K when compared to the static lattice results. Our findings thus provide a guideline for experimental detection of the nontrivial phases of BiTeI and illustrate how the phase space of the Weyl semimetal phase in noncentrosymmetric materials can be significantly affected by temperature.

Ce contenu a été mis à jour le 25 mai 2020 à 10 h 20 min.