Cadmium arsenide (Cd3As2) is one of the first materials to be discovered to belong to the class of three-dimensional topological semimetals. Reported room-temperature crystal structures of Cd3As2 differ subtly in the way the Cd vacancies are arranged within its antifluorite-derived structure, which determines if an inversion center is present and if Cd3As2 is a Dirac or Weyl semimetal. Here, we apply convergent beam electron diffraction (CBED) to determine the point group of Cd3As2 thin films grown by molecular-beam epitaxy. Using CBED patterns from multiple zone axes, high-angle annular dark-field images acquired in scanning transmission electron microscopy, and Bloch wave simulations, we show that Cd3As2 belongs to the tetragonal 4/mmm point group, which is centrosymmetric. The results show that CBED can distinguish very subtle differences in the crystal structure of a topological semimetal, a capability that will be useful for designing materials and thin film heterostructures with topological states that depend on the presence of certain crystal symmetries.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)