Imaging phonon-mediated hydrodynamic flow in WTe2

Uri Vool, Assaf Hamo, Georgios Varnavides, Yaxian Wang, Tony X. Zhou, Nitesh Kumar, Yuliya Dovzhenko, Ziwei Qiu, Christina A.C. Garcia, Andrew T. Pierce, Johannes Gooth, Polina Anikeeva, Claudia Felser, Prineha Narang, Amir Yacoby

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62 Scopus citations


In the presence of interactions, electrons in condensed-matter systems can behave hydrodynamically, exhibiting phenomena associated with classical fluids, such as vortices and Poiseuille flow1–3. In most conductors, electron–electron interactions are minimized by screening effects, hindering the search for hydrodynamic materials; however, recently, a class of semimetals has been reported to exhibit prominent interactions4,5. Here we study the current flow in the layered semimetal tungsten ditelluride by imaging the local magnetic field using a nitrogen-vacancy defect in a diamond. We image the spatial current profile within three-dimensional tungsten ditelluride and find that it exhibits non-uniform current density, indicating hydrodynamic flow. Our temperature-resolved current profile measurements reveal a non-monotonic temperature dependence, with the strongest hydrodynamic effects at approximately 20 K. We also report ab initio calculations showing that electron–electron interactions are not explained by the Coulomb interaction alone, but are predominantly mediated by phonons. This provides a promising avenue in the search for hydrodynamic flow and prominent electron interactions in high-carrier-density materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1216-1220
Number of pages5
JournalNature Physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes

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© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.


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