"Criticality of Two-Dimensional Disordered Dirac Fermions in the Unitary Class and Universality of the Integer Quantum Hall Transition"

Björn Sbierski: Elizabeth J. Dresselhaus, Joel E. Moore, and Ilya A. Gruzberg; Physical Review Letters, 02/18/21.

Additional Authors: Elizabeth J. Dresselhaus, Joel E. Moore, and Ilya A. Gruzberg


Two-dimensional (2D) Dirac fermions are a central paradigm of modern condensed matter physics, describing low-energy excitations in graphene, in certain classes of superconductors, and on surfaces of 3D topological insulators. At zero energy E=0, Dirac fermions with mass m are band insulators, with the Chern number jumping by unity at m=0. This observation lead Ludwig et al. [Phys. Rev. B 50, 7526 (1994)] to conjecture that the transition in 2D disordered Dirac fermions (DDF) and the integer quantum Hall transition (IQHT) are controlled by the same fixed point and possess the same universal critical properties. Given the far-reaching implications for the emerging field of the quantum anomalous Hall effect, modern condensed matter physics, and our general understanding of disordered critical points, it is surprising that this conjecture has never been tested numerically. Here, we report the results of extensive numerics on the phase diagram and criticality of 2D DDF in the unitary class. We find a critical line at m=0, with an energy-dependent localization length exponent. At large energies, our results for the DDF are consistent with state-of-the-art numerical results νIQH=2.56–2.62 from models of the IQHT. At E=0, however, we obtain ν0=2.30–2.36incompatible with νIQH. This result challenges conjectured relations between different models of the IQHT, and several interpretations are discussed.