Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Physics and Astronomy
With the continued discovery of topological properties in condensed matter, several members of transition-metal pnictides and chalcogenides (TMPCs) compounds have been testbeds for various exotic particles such as Dirac, Weyl and Majorana fermions. In this dissertation, we have chosen four material systems: PdSb2, PdTe2, PtTe2, and PdTe in the TMPC family, and explored their physical properties under a variety of stimuli (e.g. temperature, magnetic field, and pressure). We examined the topological behavior of these selected systems by analyzing the de Haas-van Alphen (dHvA) oscillations observed in the magnetization and magnetic torque.
From our magneto-transport measurements, we found that the non-symmorphic PdSb2 with six-fold degeneracy exhibits a large magnetoresistance (MR) with continuous increase up to 35 T. The MR obeys Kohler's law indicating charge carrier compensation which is further confirmed from the Hall effect measurements. Five bands are identified from the analysis of the dHvA oscillations, two of them possessing a non-trivial Berry phase. These are two of the six-fold degenerate bands at the Fermi level (EF).
In trigonal PdTe2 with four-fold degeneracy, the observed dHvA oscillations provided evidence of non-trivial topology which is consistent with the presence of a Dirac cone near EF. However, in PtTe2 which is isostructural with PdTe2, the dHvA oscillations we observed are dominated by topologically trivial bands. Unlike in PdTe2, the Dirac cone in PtTe2 is predicted to lie far below EF which is likely a reason for the trivial topology we found in PtTe2. While both are multiband systems, our magneto-transport measurements revealed the charge compensation in PtTe2 but not in PdTe2. The angular dependence of the dHvA oscillations rendered a 3D nature of the Fermi surface in both PdTe2 and PtTe2 despite their layered structure.
For the hexagonal PdTe, superconductivity is observed with Tc ~ 4.5 K. Below Tc, the electronic specific heat decreases obeying a power-law suggesting the presence of nodes in the superconducting energy gap, a signature of unconventional superconductivity. We identified four bands from the dHvA oscillations, two of them exhibiting a non-trivial Berry phase. The unconventional superconductivity observed is in congruence with the presence of topologically non-trivial bands.
Chapai, Ramakanta, "Topological Properties in Selected Transition-Metal Pnictides and Chalcogenides" (2021). LSU Doctoral Dissertations. 5503.
Available for download on Friday, March 13, 2026