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Disorder in Weyl semimetals and superconductors is surprisingly subtle, attracting attention and competing theories in recent years. In this brief review, we discuss the current theoretical understanding of the effects of short-ranged, quenched disorder on the low energy-properties of three-dimensional, topological Weyl semimetals and superconductors. We focus on the role of non-perturbative rare region effects on destabilizing the semimetal phase and rounding the expected semimetal-to-diffusive metal transition into a cross over. Furthermore, the consequences of disorder on the resulting nature of excitations, transport, and topology are reviewed. New results on a bipartite random hopping model are presented that confirm previous results in a p+ip Weyl superconductor, demonstrating that particle–hole symmetry is insufficient to help stabilize the Weyl semimetal phase in the presence of disorder. The nature of the avoided transition in a model for a single Weyl cone in the continuum is discussed. We close with a discussion of open questions and future directions.

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Annals of Physics