Axion electrodynamics in topological materials

Akihiko Sekine, Kentaro Nomura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


One of the intriguing properties characteristic to three-dimensional topological materials is the topological magnetoelectric phenomena arising from a topological term called the θ term. Such magnetoelectric phenomena are often termed the axion electrodynamics since the θ term has exactly the same form as the action describing the coupling between a hypothetical elementary particle, axion, and a photon. The axion was proposed about 40 years ago to solve the so-called strong CP problem in quantum chromodynamics and is now considered a candidate for dark matter. In this Tutorial, we overview theoretical and experimental studies on the axion electrodynamics in three-dimensional topological materials. Starting from the topological magnetoelectric effect in three-dimensional time-reversal invariant topological insulators, we describe the basic properties of static and dynamical axion insulators whose realizations require magnetic orderings. We also discuss the electromagnetic responses of Weyl semimetals with a focus on the chiral anomaly. We extend the concept of the axion electrodynamics in condensed matter to topological superconductors, whose responses to external fields can be described by a gravitational topological term analogous to the θ term.

Original languageEnglish
Article number141101
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Apr 14 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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