Evidence for Dominant Phonon-Electron Scattering in Weyl Semimetal WP2

Topological semimetals have revealed a wide array of novel transport phenomena, including electron hydrodynamics, quantum field theoretic anomalies, and extreme magnetoresistances and mobilities. However, the scattering mechanisms central to the fundamental transport properties remain largely unexplored. Here, we reveal signatures of significant phonon-electron scattering in the type-II Weyl semimetal WP2 via temperature-dependent Raman spectroscopy. Over a large temperature range, we find that the decay rates of the lowest energy A1 modes are dominated by phonon-electron rather than phonon-phonon scattering. In conjunction with first-principles calculations, a combined analysis of the momentum, energy, and symmetry-allowed decay paths indicates this results from finite momentum interband and intraband scattering of the electrons. The excellent agreement with theory further suggests that such results could be true for the acoustic modes. We thus provide evidence for the importance of phonons in the transport properties of topological semimetals and identify specific properties that may contribute to such behavior in other materials.

Physical Review X 11, 011017 (2021)