Experimental realization of a three-dimensional Dirac semimetal

Phys Rev Lett. 2014 Jul 11;113(2):027603. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.113.027603. Epub 2014 Jul 8.


We report the direct observation of the three-dimensional (3D) Dirac semimetal phase in cadmium arsenide (Cd(3)As(2)) by means of angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy. We identify two momentum regions where electronic states that strongly disperse in all directions form narrow conelike structures, and thus prove the existence of the long sought 3D Dirac points. This electronic structure naturally explains why Cd(3)As(2) has one of the highest known bulk electron mobilities. This realization of a 3D Dirac semimetal in Cd(3)As(2) not only opens a direct path to a wide spectrum of applications, but also offers a robust platform for engineering topologically nontrivial phases including Weyl semimetals and quantum spin Hall systems.