Point group symmetry of cadmium arsenide thin films determined by convergent beam electron diffraction

Honggyu Kim, Manik Goyal, Salva Salmani-Rezaie, Timo Schumann, Tyler N. Pardue, Jian Min Zuo, Susanne Stemmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number084202
JournalPhysical Review Materials
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 20 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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