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Tunable room-temperature nonlinear Hall effect from surfaces of elementary bismuth thin films

Makarov, D.


In the past years, there is an active research of materials displaying the non-linear Hall effect with time-reversal symmetry [1-5]. From a fundamental point of view, this quantum transport effect provides a direct way to detect in nonmagnetic materials the Berry curvature – a quantity in which the geometry of the electronic wavefunctions is encoded. The nonlinear Hall effect is also at the basis of terahertz optoelectronic applications of interest for instance for sixth generation (6G) communication networks.

An appropriate material platform for such applications should satisfy a number of criteria: i) the nonlinear Hall effect should survive up to room temperature; ii) the effect should be tunable; iii) the material fabrication should be technologically relevant (simple chemical composition of the material and low-cost microstructure); iv) ideally the material should not contain toxic heavy rare-earth elements. So far, candidate materials address only partially these requirements.

Here, we discover the first material addressing all the requirements at the same time: polycrystalline bismuth thin films [6]. We demonstrate that in this elemental green (semi)metal, the room-temperature nonlinear Hall effect is generated by surface states that are characterized by a Berry curvature triple: a quantity governing a skew scattering effect that generates non-linear transverse currents. Furthermore, we also show that the strength of nonlinear Hall effect can be controlled on demand using an extrinsic classical shape effect: the geometric nonlinear Hall effect. We demonstrate this by fabricating arc-shaped bismuth Hall bars. This endows the nonlinear Hall effect of Bismuth with the tunability encountered only in low-dimensional materials at low temperatures.

To show the potential of polycrystalline Bi thin films for optoelectronic applications in the terahertz (THz) spectral domain, we have performed high harmonic generation experiments. Polycrystalline Bi thin films reveal a high efficiency of THz third-harmonic generation (THG) that reaches levels >1% at room temperature. Moreover, our material possesses a non-saturating trend of the efficiency of the THz THG. This enables the use of Bi thin films for high- and wide- THz bandwidth electronics which works at high peak power and long pulses.

[1] Z. Z. Du et al., Nonlinear Hall effects. Nature Reviews Physics 3, 744 (2021).
[2] I. Sodemann et al., Quantum Nonlinear Hall Effect Induced by Berry Curvature Dipole in Time-Reversal Invariant Materials. Phys. Rev. Lett. 115, 216806 (2015).
[3] Q. Ma et al., Observation of the nonlinear Hall effect under time-reversal-symmetric conditions. Nature 565, 337 (2019).
[4] K. Kang et al., Nonlinear anomalous Hall effect in few-layer WTe2. Nature Mater. 18, 324 (2019).
[5] P. He et al., Quantum frequency doubling in the topological insulator Bi2Se3. Nature Communications 12, 698 (2021).
[6] P. Makushko et al., A tunable room-temperature nonlinear Hall effect in elemental bismuth thin films. Nature Electronics 7, 207 (2024).

Keywords: nonlinear Hall effect; Bi thin films

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  • Invited lecture (Conferences) (Online presentation)
    KUJI QMAT Seminar of the collaboration network including 4 countries (Korea, United Kingdom, Japan, Italy) on the oxide superconducting-spintronics project, 16.05.2024, online, online


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