Gapless criteria that can efficiently determine whether a crystal is gapless or not are particularly useful for identifying topological semimetals. In this work, we propose a sufficient gapless criterion for three-dimensional noninteracting crystals, based on the simplified expressions for the bulk average value of the static axion field. The brief logic is that two different simplified expressions give the same value in an insulator, and thus the gapless phase can be detected by the mismatch of them. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the gapless criterion in the magnetic systems with space groups 26 and 13, where mirror, glide, and inversion symmetries provide the simplified expressions. In particular, the gapless criterion can identify gapless phases that are missed by the symmetry-representation approach, as illustrated by space group 26. Our proposal serves as a guiding principle for future discovery of topological semimetals.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)