Enriched Axial Anomaly in Weyl Materials (2017)

ZM Raines, VM Galitski

in Phys. Rev. B

While quantum anomalies are often associated with the breaking of a classical symmetry in the quantum theory, their anomalous contributions to observables remain distinct and well defined even when the symmetry is broken from the outset. This paper explores such anomalous contributions to the current, originating from the axial anomaly in a Weyl semimetal, and in the presence of a generic Weyl node-mixing term. We find that apart from the familiar anomalous divergence of the axial current proportional to a product of electric and magnetic fields, there is another anomalous term proportional to a product of the electric field and the orientation of a spin-dependent node-mixing vector. We obtain this result both by a quantum field-theoretic analysis of an effective Weyl action and solving an explicit lattice model. The extended spin-mixing mass terms, and the enriched axial anomaly they entail, could arise as mean-field or proximity-induced order parameters in spin-density-wave phases in Weyl semimetals or be generated dynamically within a Floquet theory.