Pseudo-electromagnetic fields in 3D topological semimetals

Roni Ilan*, Adolfo G. Grushin, Dmitry I. Pikulin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Dirac and Weyl semimetals react to position-dependent and time-dependent perturbations, such as strain, as if subject to emergent electromagnetic fields, known as pseudo-fields. Pseudo-fields differ from external electromagnetic fields in their symmetries and phenomenology and enable a simple and unified description of a variety of inhomogeneous systems. We review the different physical means of generating pseudo-fields, the observable consequences of pseudo-fields and their similarities to and differences from electromagnetic fields. Among these differences is their effect on quantum anomalies — absences of classical symmetries in the quantum theory — which we revisit from a quantum field theory and a semi-classical viewpoint. We conclude with predicted observable signatures of the pseudo-fields and the status of the nascent experimental research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-41
Number of pages13
JournalNature Reviews Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020


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