Weyl semimetals are materials with topologically nontrivial band structure both in the bulk and on the surface, hosting chiral nodes which are sinks and sources of Berry curvature. Weyl semimetals have been predicted, and recently measured, to exhibit large nonlinear optical responses. This discovery, along with their high mobilities, makes Weyl semimetals relevant to a broad spectrum of applications in optoelectronic, nanophotonic and quantum optical devices. While there is growing interest in understanding and characterizing the linear and nonlinear behavior of Weyl semimetals, an ab initio calculation of the linear optical and optoelectronic responses at finite temperature remains largely unexplored. Here, we specifically address the temperature dependence of the linear optical response in type-I Weyl semimetals TaAs and NbAs. We evaluate from first principles the scattering lifetimes due to electron-phonon and electron-electron interaction and incorporate these lifetimes in evaluating an experimentally relevant frequency-, polarization- and temperature-dependent complex dielectric function for each semimetal. From these calculations we present linear optical conductivity predictions which agree well where experiment exists (for TaAs) and guide the way for future measurements of type-I Weyl semimetals. Importantly, we also examine the optical conductivity’s dependence on the chemical potential, a crucial physical parameter which can be controlled experimentally and can elucidate the role of the Weyl nodes in optoelectronic response. Through this work, we present design principles for Weyl optoelectronic devices that use photogenerated carriers in type-I Weyl semimetals.

Last updated on 01/23/2020