Quantum phases of disordered three-dimensional Majorana-Weyl fermions

Justin H. Wilson, J. H. Pixley, Pallab Goswami, S. Das Sarma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The gapless Bogoliubov-de Gennes (BdG) quasiparticles of a clean three-dimensional spinless px+ipy superconductor provide an intriguing example of a thermal Hall semimetal (ThSM) phase of Majorana-Weyl fermions; such a phase can support a large anomalous thermal Hall conductivity and protected surface Majorana-Fermi arcs at zero energy. We study the effects of quenched disorder on such a gapless topological phase by carrying out extensive numerical and analytical calculations on a lattice model for a disordered, spinless px+ipy superconductor. Using the kernel polynomial method, we compute both average and typical density of states for the BdG quasiparticles, from which we construct the phase diagram of three-dimensional dirty px+ipy superconductors as a function of disorder strength and chemical potential of the underlying normal state. We establish that the power law quasilocalized states induced by rare statistical fluctuations of the disorder potential give rise to an exponentially small density of states at zero energy, and even infinitesimally weak disorder converts the ThSM into a thermal diffusive Hall metal (ThDM). Consequently, the phase diagram of the disordered model only consists of ThDM and thermal insulating phases. We show the existence of two types of thermal insulators: (i) a trivial thermal band insulator (ThBI) [or BEC phase] with a smeared gap that can occur for suitable band parameters and all strengths of disorder, supporting only exponentially localized Lifshitz states (at low energy) and (ii) a thermal Anderson insulator that only exists for large disorder strengths compared to all band parameters. We determine the nature of the two distinct localization-delocalization transitions between these two types of insulators and ThDM. Additionally, we establish the scaling properties of an avoided (or hidden) quantum critical point for moderate disorder strengths, which govern the crossover between ThSM and ThDM phases over a wide range of energy scales. We also discuss the experimental relevance of our findings for three-dimensional, time reversal symmetry breaking, triplet superconducting states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number155122
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 14 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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