Imaging phonon-mediated hydrodynamic flow in WTe2


In the presence of interactions, electrons in condensed-matter systems can behave hydrodynamically, exhibiting phenomena associated with classical fluids, such as vortices and Poiseuille flow1–3. In most conductors, electron–electron interactions are minimized by screening effects, hindering the search for hydrodynamic materials; however, recently, a class of semimetals has been reported to exhibit prominent interactions4,5. Here we study the current flow in the layered semimetal tungsten ditelluride by imaging the local magnetic field using a nitrogen-vacancy defect in a diamond. We image the spatial current profile within three-dimensional tungsten ditelluride and find that it exhibits non-uniform current density, indicating hydrodynamic flow. Our temperature-resolved current profile measurements reveal a non-monotonic temperature dependence, with the strongest hydrodynamic effects at approximately 20{ hinspace}K. We also report ab initio calculations showing that electron–electron interactions are not explained by the Coulomb interaction alone, but are predominantly mediated by phonons. This provides a promising avenue in the search for hydrodynamic flow and prominent electron interactions in high-carrier-density materials.

Nat Phys
Georgios Varnavides
Georgios Varnavides
Graduate Student

Full-time graduate student | Part-time design enthusiast | Aspiring cat herder.

Polina Anikeeva
Polina Anikeeva
Professor in Materials Science and Engineering
Professor in Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Associate Director, Research Laboratory of Electronics

My goal is to combine the current knowledge of biology and nanoelectronics to develop materials and devices for minimally invasive treatments for neurological and neuromuscular diseases.