Generalized Design Principles for Hydrodynamic Electron Transport in Anisotropic Materials


Interactions of charge carriers with lattice vibrations, or phonons, play a critical role in unconventional electronic transport of metals and semimetals. Recent observations of phonon-mediated collective electron flow in bulk semimetals, termed electron hydrodynamics, present new opportunities in the search for strong electron-electron interactions in high carrier density materials. Here we present the general transport signatures of such a second-order scattering mechanism, along with analytical limits at the Eliashberg level of theory. We study electronic transport, using ab initio calculations, in finite-size channels of semimetallic ZrSiS and TaAs2 with and without topological band crossings, respectively. The order of magnitude separation between momentum-relaxing and momentum-conserving scattering length-scales across a wide temperature range make both of them promising candidates for further experimental observation of electron hydrodynamics. More generally, our calculations show that the hydrodynamic transport regime can be realized in a much broader class of anisotropic metals and does not, to first order, rely on the topological nature of the bands. Finally, we discuss general design principles guiding future search for hydrodynamic candidates, based on the analytical formulation and our ab initio predictions. We find that systems with strong electron-phonon interactions, reduced electronic phase space, and suppressed phonon-phonon scattering at temperatures of interest are likely to feature hydrodynamic electron transport. We predict that layered and/or anisotropic semimetals composed of half-filled d-shells and light group V/VI elements with lower crystal symmetry are ideal candidates to observe hydrodynamic phenomena in future.

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.