Axionic field theory of (3+1)-dimensional Weyl semimetals

Pallab Goswami*, Sumanta Tewari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

313 Scopus citations


From a direct calculation of the anomalous Hall conductivity and an effective electromagnetic action obtained via Fujikawa's chiral rotation technique, we conclude that an axionic field theory with a nonquantized coefficient describes the electromagnetic response of the (3+1)-dimensional Weyl semimetal. The coefficient is proportional to the momentum space separation of the Weyl nodes. Akin to the Chern-Simons field theory of quantum Hall effect, the axion field theory violates gauge invariance in the presence of the boundary, which is cured by the chiral anomaly of the surface states via the Callan-Harvey mechanism. This provides a unique solution for the radiatively induced CPT-odd term in the electromagnetic polarization tensor of the Lorentz violating spinor electrodynamics, where the source of the Lorentz violation is a constant axial 4-vector term for the Dirac fermion. A direct linear response calculation also establishes anomalous thermal Hall effect and a Wiedemann-Franz law, but thermal Hall conductivity does not directly follow from the well known formula for the gravitational chiral anomaly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number245107
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 5 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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