Monday, November 2, 2015

Abstract-Terahertz-induced acceleration of massive Dirac electrons in semimetal bismuth

Dirac-like electrons in solid state have been of great interest since they exhibit many peculiar physical behaviors analogous to relativistic mechanics. Among them, carriers in graphene and surface states of topological insulators are known to behave as massless Dirac fermions with a conical band structure in the two-dimensional momentum space, whereas electrons in semimetal bismuth (Bi) are expected to behave as massive Dirac-like fermions in the three-dimensional momentum space, whose dynamics is of particular interest in comparison with that of the massless Dirac fermions. Here, we demonstrate that an intense terahertz electric field transient accelerates the massive Dirac-like fermions in Bi from classical Newtonian to the relativistic regime; the electrons are accelerated approaching the effective “speed of light” with the “relativistic” beta β = 0.89 along the asymptotic linear band structure. As a result, the effective electron mass is enhanced by a factor of 2.4.

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